The Yorubas, The Revellers

Three things I identify with Yoruba fashion and culture are Eyo, tribal marks and Aso-Oke, a 15cm-width hand-woven cloth.

As a Nigerian fashion designer, I want to tell Nigerian stories and make people connect with this incredibly beautiful land. Therefore, every three seasons, we dedicate our collections to a particular tribe. For SS18, we showcased The Revellers collection, the third collection celebrating the Yorubas from the South West.


Yoruba Fashion and Culture

The three things that I identify with being Yoruba are the Eyo Festival, tribal marks and Aso-Oke, a 15cm-width hand-woven traditional cloth. 

Clothing plays a big part in showing wealth which is always on display at high brow parties and weddings. As a result, the Yorubas are renowned for their exquisite clothing. I marvel at the versatility of this thin piece of cloth, stitched together to make flowing wide sleeved robes (“agbada”) worn by men, or skirt and blouse (“iro” and “buba”) worn by women. Our Revellers collection takes inspiration from these construction techniques.


Music: From the Talking Drum to Afrobeats

Music is a very prominent aspect of Yoruba culture. Afterall, a great party needs music. The Yorubas know how to shake a leg; their grandoise Owanbe parties are legendary. They developed a highly sophisticated genre of griot music centering on an hourglass shaped drum (“Talking drum”).  The talking drum is one of the oldest instruments still played by West Africans today. It derives its name from the pitch of the drum, which can be varied to mimic the tone patterns of speech. Consequently, it was also used by villages to warn each other of impending danger.

In the 20th century the talking drum became a very popular part of music in West Africa. As music evolved,  High Life music replaced the talking drum at weddings and spread across Nigeria. Musicians like King Sunny Ade incorporated the Talking drum in his music, known as Juju music. But the Yorubas would also have Fela Kuti, my favourite artist, as their son. He invented Afrobeat which has now morphed into Afrobeats. This is now the world’s pop music. We run tins.

This is a very exciting time for U.Mi-1 as we launch our e-commerce shop. We hope to be dancing too as the brand grows. We hope to keep you engaged and entertained like the Yorubabs do.  So, watch this space for beautiful shirts, trousers and jackets!


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