Founded in 2021 by Rukky Ladoja—an industry veteran and former creative director who continues to work as a consultant and strategist within creative and retail industries in Nigeria—Dye Lab is a Nigerian apparel brand established to honor the rich history and culture of dyeing methods in Africa. The brand’s textile dyeing practices are indigenous to the Yoruba people of Nigeria, while their pieces are eco-consciously made in limited quantities. Dye Lab’s collections pay homage to the artisanal formulas of West African forebearers and blend them with ideologies from other continents, like Asia. This inspiration is evidenced in the label's range of billowing Senegalese and Japanese-style kaftans, referencing the far east's indigo origins and offering a bridge between cultures.
Each Dye Lab piece is created from hand-dyed textiles using batik wax to achieve the brand’s own formulated colors and prints and are primarily crafted from Adire and Aso Oke materials—two fabrics indigenous to South Western Nigeria. Choosing to work with these local materials has empowered the brand to celebrate the beauty of their home-grown design practices while being able to tightly control their production practices. Dye Lab uses each batch of batik wax material repeatedly; the used wax is returned to the original stock and reused during the next round of textile dyeing. Additionally, every collection is produced in small batches, while minimal fabric cutting is employed to ensure nothing is wasted. Any leftover fabrics are used to make other items.
Beyond the brand’s playful use of bright colors and hand-dyed prints, its aesthetic is a relatively simple one. Dye Lab’s distinctly modern offering of slip dresses, flowing agbada kaftans, and modern interpretations of the kimono is crafted for the effortlessly stylish woman, one who appreciates the combination of vibrance and functionality. Thanks to the brand’s artful representations of a medley of cultures that are contemporary and practical enough for everyday wear, Dye Lab has developed a cult following in Nigeria, proving a favorite of editors and influencers alike.