Tailor in Yoruba – Alaro & What it is!

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The word for “tailor” in Yoruba is “alaro”. This term is used to refer to individuals who are skilled in the art of tailoring, specifically in the context of Yoruba culture and fashion. Tailors, or “alaro,” play a significant role in Yoruba society, crafting traditional garments that are rich in cultural significance and aesthetic appeal.

The Yoruba word for “tailor” is “alaro.” To pronounce “alaro” correctly, you should break it down into syllables and note the tonal nature of the Yoruba language, which relies heavily on pitch and accent. Here’s a simple breakdown:

  • “a” as in “father”
  • “la” as in “latter”
  • “ro” with a rolled ‘r’ as in “roll”

Remember that Yoruba is a tonal language, so the pitch with which you pronounce each syllable can change the meaning. Unfortunately, without audio capabilities, it’s challenging to convey the exact tones. For accurate pronunciation, it’s often helpful to listen to a native speaker or use language learning resources that provide audio examples.

If you’re interested in the world of Yoruba tailoring, you’re tapping into a rich and vibrant tradition that’s both deeply rooted in culture and incredibly forward-looking in its fashion sensibilities. As someone who’s delved into this fascinating world, let me share some insights that might help you appreciate the beauty and intricacy of Yoruba tailoring.

Yoruba tailoring is not just about stitching fabrics; it’s a form of art deeply connected to the cultural heritage of the Yoruba people. This form of tailoring employs various materials, each with its own significance and style. For instance, the Aso-Oke, a hand-loomed cloth, comes in a plethora of colors and is a staple in Yoruba fashion.

There are different types of Aso-Oke, like Alaari (rich red), Sanyan (brown/light brown), and Etu (dark blue). Each of these has its own unique beauty and is chosen for different occasions and statuses​​.

The Yoruba traditional attire is a reflection of gender roles in the society, with men and women wearing distinctly different designs. Men typically wear a four-piece outfit consisting of Sokoto (loosely fitted pants), Buba (top), Agbada (wide-sleeved robe), and Fila (hat).

Women’s attire usually comprises three pieces: Buba (top), Iro (wrapper), and Gele (headwear). These are not just clothes; they are statements of identity, status, and community belonging​​.

Yoruba weddings showcase the pinnacle of this fashion, with bright and vibrant colors dominating the scene. Unlike the typical white European gown, Yoruba bridal attire is often in colors like orange, purple, blue, and green.

The grooms wear richly embroidered senator wear made of materials like jacquard or silk. These outfits aren’t just about looking good; they’re about celebrating heritage, culture, and personal style​​.

In modern Yoruba fashion, traditional styles are being blended with contemporary elements. For men, senator clothes and Dashiki remain popular, symbolizing pride and heritage.

Women’s fashion includes updated versions of traditional wear, with skirts and blouses replacing Iro and Buba, and bright colors remaining a constant feature. Off-shoulder dresses and corsets are also gaining popularity, emphasizing the blend of tradition with modern fashion sensibilities​​.

The Yoruba tailoring tradition is more than just clothing; it’s a vibrant expression of culture, history, and identity. Whether you’re looking to explore this style for personal wear or just to appreciate its artistry, you’ll find a world of color, pattern, and meaning waiting for you in Yoruba tailoring.


  1. Suggestion: “I’m curious about the different materials used in Yoruba tailoring. Can you tell me more?” Reply: Absolutely! Yoruba tailors often use materials like Aso-Oke, Alaari, Sanyan, Etu, Ofi, Aran, and Adire. Each has its unique color and texture, reflecting different styles and statuses​​.
  2. Suggestion: “What’s the traditional attire for Yoruba men?” Reply: Yoruba men traditionally wear a four-piece outfit comprising Sokoto (pants), Buba (top), Agbada (robe), and Fila (hat). Each piece is a symbol of cultural identity​​.
  3. Suggestion: “I’ve heard Yoruba weddings have unique attire. What does it look like?” Reply: Yoruba wedding attire is indeed unique and colorful. Brides often wear bright dresses like orange or blue, while grooms wear richly embroidered clothes. The attire is a beautiful blend of tradition and personal style​​.
  4. Suggestion: “Are there any modern trends in Yoruba tailoring?” Reply: Yes, modern trends include blending traditional elements with contemporary styles.
  1. Reply: Modern Yoruba tailoring embraces contemporary styles while maintaining traditional elements. For instance, men’s fashion includes popular Dashiki and senator clothes, while women’s fashion features updated versions of Iro and Buba, with skirts, blouses, off-shoulder dresses, and corsets in vibrant colors​​.
  2. Suggestion: “Is there any special significance to the colors used in Yoruba attire?” Reply: Definitely. In Yoruba culture, colors are not just aesthetic choices; they often carry symbolic meanings. Bright and vibrant colors are preferred, but each color can signify different aspects like status, occasion, or personal taste​​.
  3. Suggestion: “What is Aso-Oke, and why is it important in Yoruba fashion?” Reply: Aso-Oke is a hand-loomed cloth integral to Yoruba tailoring. It’s highly regarded for its quality and variety of colors and styles, often used in making traditional attire for important events​​.
  4. Suggestion: “Can you recommend Yoruba attire for a formal occasion?” Reply: For formal occasions, Yoruba men can opt for an Agbada ensemble, while women can choose a beautifully styled Gele with matching Iro and Buba. These outfits are both elegant and deeply rooted in tradition​​.
  5. Suggestion: “How do Yoruba tailors keep up
  1. Reply: Yoruba tailors blend traditional techniques with modern trends to stay current. They often incorporate contemporary fashion elements into traditional designs, ensuring their creations are both timeless and fashionable​​.
  2. Suggestion: “What should I know when choosing a Yoruba tailor for a special event?” Reply: When choosing a Yoruba tailor, look for someone who understands both traditional styles and current fashion trends. Also, consider their experience with the specific materials and designs you’re interested in​​.
  3. Suggestion: “Are there specific fabrics recommended for Yoruba wedding attire?” Reply: For weddings, richly colored Aso-Oke fabrics are popular. Brides and grooms often choose vibrant colors or embroidered materials to reflect their personal style and the significance of the occasion​​.
  4. Suggestion: “How can someone unfamiliar with Yoruba culture respect its tailoring traditions?” Reply: To respect Yoruba tailoring traditions, it’s essential to understand the cultural significance of the garments. Engage with a knowledgeable tailor and be open to learning about the symbolism and history behind the styles​​.
  5. Suggestion: “What accessories typically accompany Yoruba attire?” Reply: Accessories like laces, bracelets, beads, and Babalawos (artistically re-designed animal tails) often accompany Yoruba attire. These accessories are not just decorative; they often hold cultural significance​​.
  6. Suggestion: “Is Yoruba tailoring suitable for everyday wear, or is it more for special occasions?” Reply: While traditional Yoruba attire is often reserved for special occasions, many modern adaptations are suitable for everyday wear, offering comfort and style​​.
  7. Suggestion: “Can Yoruba tailoring styles be adapted for non-tr
  1. Reply: Absolutely, Yoruba tailoring styles can be adapted for non-traditional or international audiences. Modern Yoruba fashion often incorporates elements that appeal to a global sense of style, making it versatile and suitable for a variety of tastes and occasions

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