Ethiopian Designer Looks to Take Handbag, Local Fashion Business by Storm
By Jessica Harris – AFKI Original
Most countries in Africa havenâ€™t been crowned fashion capitals just yet. Some regions, however, have taken many in the fashion industry by surprise. Companies like Hugo Boss, Prada and Cartier have helped to expand the growing luxury market within Africa. One particular individual feels it is a personal call to show the world just what Africa really has to offer â€” on and off the runway.
Afomia Tesfaye is a designer of beautiful modern handbags and accessories that are made via a 100 percent fair-trade process in Ethiopia. She is currently developing her Spring 2015 collection of handbags and preparingÂ to launch her first online shop through her websiteÂ FOMIÂ Collection.
AFKInsiderÂ caught up with Tesfaye to discuss the founding of FOMI, the manufacturing business as well as Africaâ€™s fashion future.
AFKInsider: What made you decide to return to Ethiopia to continue the pursuit of a handbag business?
Tesfaye: It was a very natural decision for me to develop handbags in Ethiopia, not only because it is the place of my birth, but because it is actually a very exciting time to develop business here. Ethiopia is currently one of the fastest growing economies in the world and leather is our second greatest export (next to coffee). We produce some of the highest quality sheepskin in the world, so it is a privilege to be able to create leather goods with such refined raw materials.
In years past, leather goods companies â€” including many big name fashion brands â€” have come to Ethiopia purely to export and then manufacture the leather in other countries. It was important for me to develop leather goods that are produced, from start to finish, within the country.
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