The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba AbdulRasheed Akanbi, has entered into a partnership with the Bank of Industry and the Obasanjo Foundation on ways to boost production capacity of aso oke (local fabric ) weavers in the South-West and to promote its usage by youths in the country and beyond.
The monarch, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent in Osogbo on Friday, stated that promoting the local fabric would reduce the pressure on foreign exchange and boost the production capacity of the weavers.
Oba Akanbi explained that the youths and teenagers could not be forced to start wearing aso oke except the fabric was sewn to suit their needs.
The monarch, who had sewn the fabrics into different trendy styles for male and female, said he would partner celebrities, especially Nigerian artistes to don the new styles to gain acceptability among youths.
Oba Akanbi said, “It is about using our own fabrics to make clothes of the white people which our kids like. You must think like the children and the youths if you want to influence them in any way.
“We cannot compel our youths and teenagers to start wearing agbada made of aso oke or aso ofi. But now I have branded our aso oke as Telu Jeans and Telu Jeans is normal jeans trousers, shorts and jacket made of aso oke.
“Aso oke will also be used to sew suits and all office, school and religious wears. This will increase the demand for this local fabric and create jobs for our people who are weavers. It will also promote our culture and we will spend less money on importation of foreign clothes.
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is in partnership with me on it with the Bank of industry fully involved and that is why the Managing Director of the BoI with the Managing Director of Obasanjo Foundation visited Iwo to see weavers and the innovation on aso oke we are promoting.”
The monarch appealed to Nigerian youths and adults to embrace the local fabric, saying wearing aso oke only during wedding alone could not promote the fabric.