“I do not wear causal clothes on the holidays,” she says. “I prefer handmade Ethiopian traditional clothes.”
On a sunny afternoon in Shiro Meda just before Easter, people are going back and forth between the shops that line both sides of the main street, looking through the many styles of traditional dresses and accessories on offer.
Aynalem Dagne, 29, was leaving Shiro Meda, after buying dresses for herself and her one-year-old daughter. She came to Shiro Meda, which is commonly known as the paradise of cultural clothes, almost a week before the holiday to avoid the crush that usually happens around the holidays.
Aynalem, a housewife, spent 1,800 Br on similarly designed traditional dresses for herself and her daughter. She also bought new dresses almost a year ago, she bought dresses for both of them for her daughter’s baptism (Kiristina) celebration. But her daughter quickly outgrew the dress.
“Not only was the dress not her size, but there are so many other designs on the market,” said Aynalem. “It pushed me to buy something new for me and her.”
The variety of designs at Shiro Meda which attracted Aynalem are on full and colourful display in the areas many shops. Both new and older designs hang on displays ready for the holiday.
Taye Kodasa Traditional Costume Sale and Rental Shop is one of the businesses in Shiro Meda waiting for potential buyers. The shop provides both ready-made and custom traditional clothes for both women and men.
Half of the clothes on show, are new; they were bought especially for the Easter holiday according to Simret Taye, who currently manages her family business. The shop that has been in business for the past 10 years, and has been steadily growing in customer numbers since its establishment.
“Since the Ethiopian millennium nine years ago, people’s perception of traditional clothes has completely changed,” said Simret. “People used to think that traditional clothes were only for older people, but not now.”
The business is seasonal, and holiday and wedding seasons are major boom times for the shop. Out of the major holidays, Timqet usually attracts more buyers, according to Simret. From her past experience the flow of buyers increases when the holidays get near.
The clothes at Simret’s shop are made from two materials; menen (a factory-woven cloth) and fetel (handmade cotton cloth). Women’s dresses cost between 600 Br and 8,000 Br. For men, Simret offers trousers, shirts and coats at prices ranging between 900 Br and 3,500 Br.
“Our main challenge is the continuous price increases from our suppliers,” says Simret.
Before going to retail shops like Simret’s, traditional clothes have to go through various steps. The clothes are hand-made and embroidered.
Weavers produce handmade clothes from dire (cotton yarn) and tilfe, the colourfully woven patterns in the cotton fabric. The clothes then go to embroiderers, and then it is finally sent to the retailers or directly to the buyers.
Read more at addisfortune.net
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