Years back, in a typical Nigerian ceremony beaming with colours and glam, the "aso-ofi" or "aso-oke" (traditionally woven clothing materials) used to be the centre of attraction. Celebrants, brides, grooms, family members, and guests would flaunt their dresses made from aso-ofi. How thick and colourful the material shows the social and economic status of the wearer.
But over a decade, fashion attention began to gradually shift away from clothes made from thick traditionally woven textile, mainly controlled by local women, to imported designer wear. If they are not foreign designer wears, they are brocade or lace materials imported from China, India, Malaysia, or the United States. Hence, this women-controlled industry began to experience a decline in popularity and patronage. The patronage and profits dropped amid the influx of imported clothing materials.
These women (mostly uneducated) are doubling their efforts to ensure the attire gains wide acceptance again. Despite the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on small-scale businesses, they have decided to keep the trade alive and boost their family income.