Heritage, Culture, Textiles

“Our Heritage Re-Imagined – The Africa We Don’t See”

Onalaja believes in moving away from industrial manufacturing processes in order to support cultural diversity through handmade creations. Their initiative supports fair trade within indigenous communities.

Onalaja aims to stand as brand true to its heritage. One of cultural celebration and women, custom of the society it is fortunate to be within, a pride of home. A brand that continues to practice and preserve hand-craftsmanship, and truly enforces the luxury as well as harnessing the language of tradition and an appreciation of beauty. Culture and heritage visually curated can celebrate and highlight the qualities that connect, complement and contrast, but ultimately celebrate creative perceptiveness.

Colorful Threads

The Art of Weaving

The use of traditional fabrics play a key role within each collection. The traditional Aso-oke fabric (from the indigenous Yoruba Tribe) and other traditional basketing weaving techniques are recreated each season. Modern techniques and materials are often juxaposed with the traditional weaving craft.

Hand Embriodery

Africa as a whole is very three dimensional. Onalaja celebrates the fusion between culture and fabric through the inclusion of hand embroidery. From the traditional cloth which is crucial to transforming any person into a living art form, to the detailed sculptural and artistic elements, handmade embroideries are created season to season using techniques inspired by African culture. These are reinvented through the use of new materials. For example the hand embroidery Tinko technique used has been derived from the Hausa Tribe of Northern Nigeria.

Screen Shot 2021-01-10 at 22.03.16.png

Hand Painting & Print Work

The Onalaja prints are often very detailed and visually bold and strong, in reminiscent of the distinctive African stroke. Similarly to the traditional art of Adire, a way of communicating idioms, proverbs or statements, Onalaja aims to communicate a particular story each season, one that isn’t heard but can be seen. Abstraction as a theme which is often found within African art is something very key to elements of print and embellishment. All hand painted elements are created by the designer and her mother.