From the Series
Fikirte Addis is an Ethiopian fashion designer and the founder of Yefiker Design, a label renowned for its use of the most sophisticated Ethiopian traditional fabrics to create contemporary clothing.
“Since I began designing there has always been a dilemma about whether to stay modern and follow modern trends or to be cultural and in-touch with your identity,” says Addis. She resolves this dilemma by experimenting with different garments, cuts, beading techniques and beading.
“It’s important that [customers] have a touch of culture that still exists in the modern world and it doesn’t have to be too cultural or too modern.”
Artisan embroiderers use centuries-old techniques and hand-operated machines to weave Yefikir’s fabrics. Women intricately weave the colourful strips or tilf, which are sewn into hems. “We usually focus on locally produced materials. Ethiopia is a place rich in cotton and it’s part of creating jobs and using the talented weavers and embroiders,” says Addis. “It makes the clothing unique and valuable.”
A self-taught designer, Addis’ clothing is sold on Africa Design Hub, a US-based online store founded to showcase African designs while bridging markets. “I didn’t have a degree in fashion, I actually took a few small courses and diplomas here and there, so I’m kind of self-taught.”
“I think that fashion is self-expression for me. Most of the time it shows how we feel and how we want to feel,” says Addis. “It says a lot about our identities and its actually one way we can create who we are and show it to the world.”