Abai Schulze: Stylish leather goods, handmade in Ethiopia

ZAAF is a collection of Ethiopian handbags and scarfs, hand loomed using traditional patterns and practices.

Abai Schulze, Founder and Creative Director of ZAAF launched her line in February 2014. Her brand draws on its Ethiopian roots, rich national heritage, and local resources. The geometric patterns associated with traditional Ethiopian dress is incorporated into ZAAF’s collection of handbags and scarfs.

Based in the sprawling capital Addis Ababa, ZAAF locally sources all its raw materials. According to Schulze, her dream is to travel the landlocked country in search of new, untapped resources.

“We use a lot of geometric shapes that are unique to Ethiopia,” explains Schulze. “We’ve integrated them into our products. I think that has made them unique.”

Going forward, Schulze hopes to establish a lifestyle brand. She hopes to do this by keeping her team of 17 happy and willing to represent the brand’s unique, culturally rich ethos.

According to her website, ZAAF’s 2016 range draws its inspiration from the diverse group of people in the capital of Ethiopia. “Anybody who has been to Addis Ababa will know that it is an aesthetically unique city, with a mish- mash of cultural and artistic influences from across the globe,” says Schulze.

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