Slow fashion label OliveAnkara makes a green leap forward with AJO AYE ‘21, their first sustainable, Afro-Asian fusion collection for women. To launch on 9 October 2021, the Yorùbá phrase translates to ‘Colourful Journey’ and expands on the tone that founder and designer Ify Ubby has established in the past four years.
In continuation of creating bold styles for the culturally curious, the 22-piece collection debuts OliveAnkara Original prints on TENCELTM Lyocell eco-fabrics, in ensembles featuring the brand’s iconic silhouettes.
A celebration of Ubby’s three cultures and loves — her West African heritage, Italian upbringing, and Asian journey thus far — AJO AYE represents a woman unapologetically blazing her own trail. With Ankara (African wax print fabrics) still the main source of inspiration, AJO AYE transcends the boundaries of geographic separation, and embodies the beginning of a brighter dawn and new age. Ideating fusion between elegant Japanese motifs and vivid Ankara styles and colours, the collection sees two OliveAnkara Original prints.
Created in collaboration with textile designers, Hyun-Jin Yoo and Patrizia Bosisio, each paints a story:
A symbol of beauty, the peacock inspires Ewa Naibu (Ewa: beauty in Yorùbá, Naibu: inside in Japanese) with its aura of grace, freedom, love, dignity, and courage. A sacred bird in some cultures, the peacock in West Africa serves as a reminder that nothing should be taken too seriously, to be present and stay centred on what “is”. Underlining the print’s concept of inner beauty, Ewa Naibu draws on seigaiha, a motif used to illustrate seas and oceans. Dating to sixth century Japan, the water motif signifies the incarnation of purity and the pliant simplicity of life.
Spurred by OliveAnkara’s belief in enjoying beautiful moments of the present, Asa Hana (Asa: cultural in Yorùbá, Hana: blossom in Japanese) is a tale of two flowers, the hibiscus and the ginkgo. The two blooms symbolise the joy of happiness in a marriage, and are associated with fame, glory and wealth. The short-lived hibiscus flower is a metaphor for youth, fame, and beauty, and a nudge to enjoy life in all its aspects despite its ephemerality.
The different colours of Asa Hana also stand for various qualities: yellow flowers represent happiness and good luck, blue for knowledge, white blooms stand for purity and the female, while red symbolises love and passion.
Marrying modern fashion design with an Italian taste, courtesy of her upbringing in Venice, Ubby deftly combines outdoor sensibilities and indoor glamour. AJO AYE 21 presents 22 pieces tailored to impeccable silhouettes, exuding comfort, freedom and energy.
Each piece shines light on feminine icons in the history and mythology of Yorùbá and Japan, with the main inspiration being the element of water. Woven into the collection, from its silhouettes to energy, are YEMOJA, the Yorùbá water goddess, mother of oceans, rivers and feminine mysteries, and SUI, the Japanese water element representing flow and change.
Singing to the tune of Ubby’s vision for AJO AYE, the collection empowers women to own and cultivate their unique paths. Fresh and versatile, the Sakuya-Hime one-shoulder mini dress introduces the blossom princess of Shinto, a symbol of delicate earthy life and avatar of Japanese life. Crafted with the Asa Hana print, the sleek, asymmetrical construction comes with tie-up strings on the side.
Strength and bravery takes center stage with lion dance pants Mu Guiying, who is a legendary Chinese heroine known for her extraordinary martial arts and dedication to family and country. The symbolism of the Asa Hana print is further bolstered by the lion-dance style, as the ritual is performed to bring luck.
Ewa Naibu flows like the pure, undulating waves of water in Suijin. The afromono dress is kindled by the Japanese mythology surrounding the Shinto god, the benevolent divinity of water.
Beauty, grace and strength is embodied in Moremi Ajsaro, a flowy number named after the legendary Yorùbá queen. Fabled to have liberated the Yoruba kingdom of Ifẹ̀ in the 12th century, she changed the destinies of her people in one brave swoop.
OliveAnkara expands their commitment to slow fashion with the introduction of TENCELTM, a colour-rich, durable, and biodegradable fabric made from cellulose. Created with natural wood from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)- and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)-certified forests, the Lyocell eco-fabric comes with an internationally recognized EU Ecolabel, which is awarded to products with significantly lower environmental impact throughout its lifecycle.
The innovative TENCELTM further refines the OliveAnkara slow fashion experience with its buttery smooth texture, as well as enhanced breathability. Wicking moisture away, the eco-fabric is designed for on-the-go with its additional antibacterial and odour resistance properties.
Further steps were taken to minimise waste and chemicals at each production stage, presenting a more transparent supply chain. Digitally printed to minimise water usage, OliveAnkara designs are also certified OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 (free from harmful chemicals). Recycled polyester labels, FSC-certified paper for hang tags, reusable boxes and the upcycling leftover fabric to produce scrunchies, tote bags and dust bags are just some of the many ways the label has committed to the slow fashion movement.
OliveAnkara is also a member of Nu Cycle, a solutions-based waste offset service for neutralising waste impact. At each stage, the waste footprint is assessed, offset and transformed to develop and invest into circle strategies for sustainable resources.
OliveAnkara AJO AYE 21 collection is available f rom 9 October 2021 at the OliveAnkara Showroom (#01-02, 79 Chay Yan Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 160079, +65 8833 3427) and on their web-store oliveankara.com
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