In mid-November, we carried out a scoping trip to Ethiopia in collaboration with the British Council’s East Africa Arts programme. We wanted to gain further insight into their fashion industry and explore possible opportunities for collaborations involving their designers, other East African fashion designers and HEVA. We met wonderful creative entrepreneurs specializing in women’s wear and leather based products running some amazing brands: Mafi, Yefikir, Zaaf, Meron by Leather Exotica, Paradise Fashion and Lali, among others.
Most of the designers cite various aspects of Ethiopian culture as their main inspiration, and also incorporate traditional craftsmanship techniques such as hand weaving in the making of their products. The use of locally sourced cotton and leather was also very prevalent. We also visited their workshop and retail spaces. We were thrilled for the chance to get to know the designers and their industry a little better, and look forward to doing some exciting projects together in the new future.