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A few years ago, fashion in Ethiopia was mostly a local phenomenon wrapped in waves of tradition. The country’s designs weren’t known on the international markets but over the past years, things have and continue to change drastically. Today, the country boasts to have its own international supermodel, a world-renown designer, a centuries-old textile industry, and its very own fashion school. Thanks to its booming capital fashion Addis Ababa, the country is perched to hit the global fashion industry by storm.

The sprawling city of Addis Ababa which is home to almost four million people, may not be on most people’s radar when it comes to a global fashion city however it is home to one of the world’s coolest footwear brands globally known as Sole Rebels. Created by Bethlehem Alemu in 2005, and made from worn-out truck tires in Addis Ababa’s poorest and most disadvantaged areas, the shoes became a massive hit with thousands of hip American urbanites. Urban Outfitters became the first to place an order, for 2,500 pairs followed by Amazon making the label one of Addis Ababa and the country’s most remarkable international success stories.

When it comes to their design techniques, Addis Ababa fashion designers like to combine the old with the new as illustrated by the growing number of highly-rated designers using the city as their creative base. These designers have showcased their contemporary creations at the city’s leading fashion event the Hub of Africa Fashion Week also known as one of Africa’s most glamorous fashion gatherings. Since its inception in 2010 HAFW has attracted Addis Ababa’s best designers as well as those from other African countries, international models, and media including Vogue Italia and WWD. Ten of Addis’ young fashion talent were selected as part of African Designers For Tomorrow (ADFT) a project by Fashion Africa 254 (FA254) funded by GIZ, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GmbH) assigned by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. The most talented designers are set to travel to Germany for the Berlin Fashion Week in July 2018 and will exhibit at the Green Show Room as a way of promoting their designs and Addis Ababa’s fashion sector internationally.

Amidst the designers driving fashion as a booming sector in Ethiopia and building Addis Ababa as a fashion capital, there are as well young trendsetters who are using their social media platforms to promote their eccentric style tastes. One, in particular, is @Foooziya with 62.3K followers. She uses her platform as a fashion blogger and in particular as a “Hijabi style influencer” creating short tutorials of new ways to style traditional looks of the hijab. The influencer model is also known for her makeup tips and is among the growing number of young people bringing Instagram to life in Ethiopia.

Addis Ababa’s rising fashion scene is thrilling to see and with so many creative people sharing their unique skills locally and abroad, the city’s fashion star keeps shining brighter. The sartorial trends and design techniques are exciting and will hopefully inspire more investors and buyers to explore Addis Ababa as a fashion market.

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