OliveAnkara Presents Their First Sustainable Afro-Asian Fusion Collection

The first look at AJO AYE 21’
By: agnes
October 19, 2021

One of the biggest polluting industries in the world is the fashion industry. To make things more specific, ‘fast fashion’ in particular creates pollution to our Earth. This is because ‘fast fashion’ clothing is often made of cheap material which usually contains microplastics. Therefore today, sustainable fashion has become something that should be in the limelight as it helps save the environment. With this, slow fashion label OliveAnkara is making a green leap forward with AJO AYE ‘21. This is their first sustainable Afro-Asian fusion collection for women and Glitz has everything you need to know about it. 

What Is AJO AYE?

OliveAnkara has launched its sustainable Afro-Asian fusion collection called AJO AYE ‘21. The title of the collection is actually in Yorùbá, a language widely used in West Africa. ‘AJO AYE’ translates to ‘Colourful Journey’, which cleverly describes founder and designer Ify Ubby’s tone, which she has established in the past four years.

The collection features 22 bold and stunning pieces. These pieces debut OliveAnkara Original prints on TENCELTM Lyocell eco-fabrics. The fabrics feature the brand’s iconic silhouettes in ensembles.

A Colourful Journey

This collection is a celebration of Ubby’s three cultures and loves. It celebrates her West African heritage, Italian upbringing, and Asian journey thus far. AJO AYE represents a woman unapologetically blazing her own trail.

AJO AYE takes main inspiration from Ankara, which are African wax print fabrics. Ideating fusion between elegant Japanese motifs and vivid Ankara styles and colours, the collection sees two OliveAnkara Original prints. These prints were created in collaboration with textile designers, Hyun-Jin Yoo and Patrizia Bosisio.

Ewa Naibu

Ewa Naibu in Blue (left) and Teal (right)

Translating to ‘Beauty Inside’, this original print is inspired by the peacock. Its name uses two languages – Yorùbá (Ewa) and Japanese (Naibu), further defining the beautiful combination of Ubby’s cultures. The peacock exudes an aura of grace, freedom, love, dignity, and courage – just as this piece emanates. The peacock is sacred in some cultures, but in West Africa, it serves as a reminder to be present.

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.

Asa Hana

Asa Hana in Green (left) and Red (right)

The name of this print translates to ‘Cultural Blossom’. The first word is in the Yorùbá language while the latter is in the Japanese language. This print tells the tale of two flowers – the hibiscus and the ginkgo. These two blooms symbolise the joy of happiness in a marriage. They also associate 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 this print also stand for various qualities. The yellow flowers represent happiness and good luck, while the blue stands for knowledge. The white blooms stand for purity and the female, while red symbolises love and passion.

AJO AYE Is Inspired By Women

What makes this collection even better, is the fact that each piece shines a light on feminine icons in the history and mythology of Yorùbá and Japan. Ubby also draws main inspiration from the element of water. One of the element you can find in the collection is YEMOJA, the Yorùbá water goddess. She is the mother of oceans, rivers and feminine mysteries. Joining YEMOJA is SUI, the Japanese water element representing flow and change.

The Sakuya-Hime one-shoulder mini dress introduces the blossom princess of Shinto, a symbol of delicate earthy life and avatar of Japanese life. The Cultural Blossom print crafts this piece with its sleek, asymmetrical construction that comes with tie-up strings on the side. 


Strength and bravery take centre stage with lion dance pants Mu Guiying, who is a legendary Chinese heroine. In addition to strength and bravery, this Chinese heroine is known for her extraordinary martial arts and dedication to family and country. The symbolism of this particular print is further bolstered by the lion-dance style, as the ritual is performed to bring luck.

Other than that, Ewa Naibu flows like the pure, undulating waves of water in Suijin. The Japanese mythology surrounding the Shinto god, the benevolent divinity of water, is what inspires this afromono dress.

Similarly, beauty, grace and strength are embodied in Moremi Ajsaro, a flowy number named after the legendary Yorùbá queen. Fabled to have liberated the Yoruba kingdom of Ifẹ̀in in the 12th century, she changed the destinies of her people in one brave swoop.

Sustainability in AJO AYE

In this particular collection, OliveAnkara is introducing TENCELTM, a colour-rich, durable, and biodegradable fabric made from cellulose. Also, the fabric is made of natural wood and the Lyocell eco-fabric comes with an internationally recognised EU Ecolabel. One thing to note is that this label is only awarded to products with significantly lower environmental impact throughout their lifecycle.

Not only is TENCELTM better for the environment, but it features a buttery smooth texture, as well as enhanced breathability. If you’re constantly on-the-go and sweat a lot, then this eco-fabric is perfect for you as it has antibacterial and odour resistant properties.

OliveAnkara also took further steps to minimise waste and chemicals at each production stage. The brand digitally prints its designs in order to minimise water usage. Other than that, these designs are certified free from harmful chemicals. They also produce scrunchies, tote bags and dust bags by upcycling leftover fabric. Plus, the brand also recycles polyester labels, use FSC-certified paper for hang tags, as well as reusable boxes.

You can shop the OliveAnkara AJO AYE 21 collection now by clicking here, or visit the OliveAnkara Showroom (#01-02, 79 Chay Yan Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 160079 | +65 8833 3427).

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