An Ethiopian boutique showcasing artisanal design

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, June 25, 2024

An Ethiopian boutique showcasing artisanal design
A dress made of Abujedi fabric, a type of Ethiopian cotton, on display at the boutique African Mosaique in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Nov. 18, 2020. Anna Getaneh opened the boutique almost four years ago in a home her father had built where she spent some of her childhood years. Eduardo Soteras Jalil/The New York Times.

by Sarah Khan

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Not far from Addis Ababa’s British Embassy, in a quiet residential enclave just off a busy thoroughfare, stands a lovely tree-shaded villa. It’s here that Anna Getaneh opened her boutique, African Mosaique, almost four years ago, in a home her father had built and where she spent some of her childhood years.

Past the garage — now a coffee shop — and the foyer are erstwhile living and dining areas: airy showrooms for a gallery-worthy display of Getaneh’s diaphanous dresses, patterned blazers and colorful accessories, which incorporate traditional Ethiopian fabrics and craftsmanship, filtered through Getaneh’s global lens.

“My starting point is textiles,” she said. “I grew up appreciating fabrics, and what kind of colors and what kind of motifs are worn, and their significance. I always felt that these are such great stories to share and tell.”

Many of the designs on display incorporate shema, an Ethiopian handwoven fabric, and kitenge, the African wax print fabric popular across much of the continent. For example, a brightly colored long dress made of kitenge is priced at 4,500 Ethiopian birr, or about $120, while a white shema woven dress is 3,000 birr, or about $80.

But the fabric is merely a starting point. “I love being able to use basic fabrics and adding value; we do embroidery, we do beading, which is really what our story is here in Africa,” Getaneh said. “You hear about artisanal work in the rest of the world, and that’s luxury — couture is all handmade, for example. Whereas here, that value has never been a given.”

The boutique’s international sensibility makes sense, given that African Mosaique’s origins are many miles and many years removed from its current setting in Ethiopia’s capital.

The daughter of a career diplomat and a fashion designer, Getaneh was born and raised overseas; as a model, she spent nine years working in Paris and New York. It was in New York that she founded the Ethiopian Children’s Fund to build schools in rural Ethiopia, which led to the 1996 opening of a fundraising fashion showcase she named African Mosaique.

“I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to show images of dying children, of problems, of war and all the turmoil that we have in Africa,” she said. “I wanted to put the spotlight on something positive.”

In the 1990s, the New York iteration of African Mosaique brought together talent from across the continent with Pan-African collectives timed to the end of Paris and New York fashion weeks.

“Initially, it was all about showing that there is fashion in Africa, it was well alive and thriving, and that the only thing is that we didn’t really hear about it in the West,” she said.

Eventually, she returned to Africa — first to Johannesburg, where she opened an African Mosaique boutique in 2005, and then, in 2012, to Addis Ababa, where her brand has grown into a multidimensional force celebrating local materials and workmanship: the boutique, her own in-house label, an annual fashion festival (coming up on Dec. 5), a design hub and a fashion incubator to support up-and-coming talent.

It’s the incubator that Getaneh is particularly proud of, a program designed to help emerging designers on every stage of launching a fashion brand — from skills to production to business plans and beyond.

“With the right opportunity, you can start seeing designers succeed in Africa,” she said. Fifty designers have participated so far, and Getaneh hopes to roll out the program across the continent to empower future generations of African talent with tools to thrive.

“We’re focusing on what are the challenges designers have here, because it’s very similar to what designers in South Africa or West Africa have: lack of proper design schooling, lack of machinery, lack of raw material — even though we have great cotton and leather, most of it is exported.”

Getaneh’s next project is a foundation scheduled to open in January and focused on sustaining traditions.

Her goal, she said, is “making sure that as we grow the fashion design we’re not forgetting our past.”

© 2020 The New York Times Company

Today's News

November 29, 2020

Did John McCracken make that monolith in Utah?

Sotheby's and Christie's look to luxury as a coronavirus antidote

Pedophile scandal can't crack the closed circles of literary France

Israel's pick to head Holocaust Memorial stirs international uproar

Phillips announces additional highlights from the December sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art

A second sudden exit for a hard-charging artistic director

New provenance researcher for the Leopold Museum

Copenhagen offers ceramics that are as appealing as its cuisine

Mehdi Ghadyanloo presents recent work at Almine Rech's project space in Paris

Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo announces additional highlights from Racing Pulse

An Ethiopian boutique showcasing artisanal design

First digital Vienna Art Week draws record visitor numbers

The Museum of the Home will reopen in spring 2021 following a major £18.1 million renovation

The Henry Moore Foundation announces 2021 programme

Oklahoma City Museum of Art's 75th anniversary celebrated in new installation

Shapero launches Emporium with incredible objects, from Raphael to Warhol, from renowned dealers

TarraWarra Museum of Art reopens with 'Looking Glass: Judy Watson and Yhonnie Scarce'

Winners of 5th annual Ingram Prize announced

Ronnie Wood releases new set of signed Faces 50th anniversary limited edition prints

The museums of Paris: A source for gifts inspired by the past

Discovering vintage Madrid

How an opera can fit in a mailbox

Her antenna is tuned to the quietest voices

10 French movies that can transport you to Paris

The Mastermind of Photography of the 1900s

3 Tips On Buying The Right CBD Treats For Your Cat

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful