Ethiopia bets on clothes to fashion industrial future

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Workers sort finished New Look clothes inside the Indochine Apparel PLC textile factory in Hawassa Industrial Park in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region”,”caption”:”Workers sort finished New Look clothes inside the Indochine Apparel PLC textile factory in Hawassa Industrial Park in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region, Ethiopia November 17, 2017. Picture taken November 17, 2017.REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Checkered shirts for American chain Gap. Slate leggings for Swedish store H&M. Twill shorts for Germany’s Tchibo. They are among a growing list of clothes being stitched together for big brands in Ethiopia.

As labor, raw material and tax costs rise in China – the world’s dominant textiles producer – the Horn of Africa country is scrambling to offer a cheaper alternative, and go up against established low-cost garment makers like Bangladesh and Vietnam.

It is still early days, and most of the clothing companies to source production in Ethiopia are testing the waters with small volumes. But the government is working hard to attract their business with tax breaks, subsidies and cheap loans. The landlocked nation is also about to open the final stretch of a 700 km (450-mile) electric railway to Djibouti’s coast.

This is part of a drive to turn a nation that is among the poorest in Africa into a manufacturing center that is no longer held hostage to fickle weather patterns which periodically devastate the agrarian economy and leave its people hungry.

There has been some progress; foreign investment in the textile industry has risen from 4.5 billion birr ($166.5 million) in 2013/14 to 36.8 billion in 2016/17, the Ethiopian Investment Commission, a government agency, told Reuters.

“This is a huge success,” Arkebe Oqubay, a prime ministerial adviser directing the industrialization drive, said during the inauguration of an industry park in the northern Ethiopian town of Kombolcha this summer. “The challenge now is to bring the world’s biggest companies into the country.”

Some have already arrived, most of them sourcing some production locally, like Gap and H&M, but a few building factories themselves.

Those to set up factories this year include U.S. fashion giant PVH, whose brands include Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger; Dubai-based Velocity Apparelz Companies, which supplies Levi‘s, Zara and Under Armour; and China‘s Jiangsu Sunshine Group, whose customers include Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss.

French retailer Decathlon and over 150 companies from China and India will begin sourcing production from Ethiopia soon, said the investment commission.

However, while Ethiopia is moving faster than its continental rivals, there is a long road ahead. Logistical, bureaucratic and cotton-quality problems are threatening its ambitions and there are no guarantees it will ever be able to compete with the big global players.

The gulf in textiles exports is huge; Ethiopia’s totalled about $115 million in 2015, against Vietnam’s $27 billion, Bangladesh’s $28 billion and China’s $273 billion, according to the World Bank’s latest figures.

Ethiopia’s fledgling sector can ill afford the kind of working conditions scandals that have dogged the low-cost garment industry elsewhere, and officials said they were sending representatives to Asia to learn best practices.

Read more at Reuters

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Ethiopia hosts Africa’s main textile, apparel trade show

Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome delivers his speech during the opening of Africa Sourcing and Fashion in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Oct. 3, 2017. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)
Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome delivers his speech during the opening of Africa Sourcing and Fashion in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Oct. 3, 2017. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

Ethiopia is showcasing its prowess in textile and garment industry at the ongoing Africa’s main trade show for cotton, textile, apparel, home and technology industries.

The African Sourcing and Fashion Week, which will last toward Friday, has gathered some 230 international producers and exporters from 25 countries, the organizers Trade and Fairs East Africa and Messe Frankfurt indicated Tuesday.

Among the variety of products showcased at the trade show include apparel fabrics, leather goods, fashion and fashionable accessories. Home and household textile providers are also among exhibitors as part of the event.

According to the organizers, the exhibitors are drawn from countries such as Turkey, the United Arabic Emirates, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Italy, Germany and the host nation Ethiopia.

The 4-day event, as part of its opening day program, evaluated Ethiopia’s Hawassa industrial park, in which panelists indicated the industrial zone as a “model of sustainability” in Africa’s textile and garment industry sector. Digital sourcing was also major discussion topic during the event as a new sourcing opportunity for the African continent and beyond.

Read more at xinhuanet

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African Designers meeting in Addis for the Africa Fashion Reception

Designers have gathered for the Africa Fashion Reception. And well-heeled residents of Addis Ababa were certainly impressed with what’s on offer. CGTN’s Girum Chala reports…

Designers meeting in Addis Ababa showcase pieces, discuss need for sector support

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Somali-American Hijab-wearing model Halima Aden breaks barriers

World’s only hijab wearing super model, Halima Aden is breaking barriers in the modeling industry. The Somali-American teen says that wearing the traditional veil is simply a part of who she is.

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African designers call for greater investment in fashion

Africa’s fashion industry has caught the attention of international designers and inspired catwalks in fashion capitals like Paris, Milan and New York. But that has not been enough to get the industry to a place where it can contribute towards economic growth and sustainability on the continent. A recent report by the Africa Development Bank says the potential is huge but remains mostly untapped. Uche Okoronkwo reports.

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Fashion designer Mafi wins Creative Futures’ competition

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Mafi creates clothing and accessories which are fresh and cutting-edge and at the same time very wearable.

Mafi, one of Ethiopia’s most recognized designers won a contest organized by Creative Futures. Known to work with exclusively hand woven fabrics, Mafi as a winner of the competition will be showcasing her work at the Hub of Africa 2017, an event that showcases the works of well know as well as up and coming fashion designers, that is set to be held in October.

The competition was juried by Waridi Schrobsdorff, Founder and CEO Fashion Africa 254, Sara Maino, Senior Editor Vogue Italia and Head of Vogue Talents and Julia Sattler, Director Goethe-Institut Addis Abeba.

Mafi’s ability to use only traditional materials while at the same time making it appeal to the modern women and the fact that she has already developed her own signature for her work is one of the reasons she won the contest.

“Mafi’s interpretation of African tradition and colors is transformed in a modern vision that can be worn daily,” Sara Maino, Senior Editor Vogue Italia and Head of Vogue Talents. Director of the Goethe-Institut Addis Ababa also stated that “Our aim is to connect people. Mafi and an international buyer – we are excited to see where this combination will lead us to.”

Mafi creates clothing and accessories which are fresh and cutting-edge and at the same time very wearable. Working with hand-woven fabrics is a way for Mafi to give back and to support women weavers who are often marginalized within the male-dominated weaving community.

The connection between hand-woven fabrics and Ethiopian culture and history is something Mafi explores in her work. Culture and tradition can sometimes become as essential and as invisible as air. Pushing herself creatively Mafi produces contemporary pieces with ancient fabrics, giving visibility to the diversity and depth of Ethiopian culture and tradition.

Source: capitalethiopia

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Eritrean-Ethiopian twin sisters use style to break barriers for the deaf

Home » Entertainment » Fashion » Eritrean-Ethiopian twin sisters use style to break barriers for the deaf
Hermon and Heroda Berhane

Hermon and Heroda Berhane were 7 when their parents realized they were deaf. Together, they run a fashion blog called Being Her

(CNN) – Fashion bloggers Hermon and Heroda Berhane were 7 when they both mysteriously went deaf at the same time. Now 34, the Eritrean-Ethiopian twin sisters have blossoming careers in modeling and acting as well as a fashion blog.

Their mission is simple. “We want to tell people around the world that you should embrace disability, not hide from it,” the twins said in an interview with CNN.

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