Genet (formally Paradise Fashion) is an atelier for sustainably designed, handwoven fashion made for women, by women. Previously known as Paradise Fashion, Genet is an iconic fashion brand founded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1992. Since founding the label, Genet has been celebrating the cultural tradition of Ethiopian handweaving with a contemporary design aesthetic. She is also providing sustainable employment to her largely female team.
For Sabahar, it is a blessing and joy to work with Genet! Beginning before 2010, we have worked closely with Genet mostly as the supplier of her fabric. The decisions about fabric color and design has always been through joint discussions and ideas – with Genet always very sensitive to what fabrics we already have in stock, and what it is possible for our weaves to produce.
A visit of Genet to Sabahar always means we benefit from her creativity and energy….as she generously shares her in-depth knowledge of design and color with us.
Founder: Calamai family (from Prato, Italy applying their 3 generations of textile experience to producing eco-friendly, high quality bags in Ethiopia).
Afar products are inspired by the nature, soul and energy of the African land. The hand-made bags are designed to withstand the harsh environment in which they are born, they all made with natural materials including locally sourced cotton canvas which is dyed using locally found soils and plants, leather from the Ethiopian zebu cattle which is enhanced by vegetable tanning and waxing, and horn accessories which also comes from the Zebu cattle. Years of studies and experiments were needed to perfect processing and finishing methods that allowed the materials to face travel conditions in Africa better than artificial fibers.
Our relationship with Afar has been a journey of fiber experimentation, natural dyeing collaboration and joint market exploration. Our respect for their creativity and high quality production led us to promote their bags on our website for some years. We still carry a wide range of their products in our local shop in Addis Ababa.
This extremely innovative company has recently turned to us to produce hand woven cotton fabric for their bags, to substitute for canvas which has become very difficult to source in Ethiopia. This is a great challenge for us to use the traditional looms to produce a strong and tightly woven fabric that can stand up to various fabric treatments and long-term use. We are still exploring the best yarns to use, and the most efficient looms.
Brand: Bere Silk
Founder: Geleta Haile and family, company name is Beresericulture
We have known the founder of Beresericulture (Ato Geleta Haile) before the existence of his company. In fact, it was our very first meeting in Arba Minch in about 2001 that promoted Geleta to get involved in the silk production and processing sector. Since that time, he has revolutionized the silk sector in Ethiopia – from being 4 or 5 individual households trying out this new idea of looking after caterpillars in their homes, to a thriving business with hundreds of silk producing households, and more than 50 women at his factory spinning silk on their locally made spinning wheels. Based in Arba Minch, Beresericulture was visited by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and other government officials in 2022, an indication of the recognition and importance Geleta has achieved for the silk industry in the country.
Currently, we purchase all our hand spun eri silk yarn from Beresericulture. With production increasing yearly, Bere has started selling yarn to other local weaving companies as well. They have also started weaving and produce lovely 100% silk products all dyed with natural dyes.
Geleta’s two oldest children are studying silk and design related topics in Universities in Ethiopia…in order to take over their father's business. What a success story!! We are thankful for the privilege of being part of their business journey.
Founder: Firew Konjo
Shimena (formally Jano Handicrafts) is based in Arba Minch (southern Ethiopia), and is a traditional weaving company/cooperative. Founded by a local entrepreneur who is passionate about the preservation of local handicrafts, Firew Konjo has been an inspirational friend to work with.
Shimena is the Amharic word for weaving. The slogan “weaving friendships” describes how the company connects artisans, workers, partners and customers. They work with traditional weavers in Arba Minch, and also in Dorze…a traditional weaving area that is in the highlands close to Arba Minch.
Their high quality and unique products are sold in the local area, as well as exported.
We have learned a lot from his commitment to finding local solutions to local problems, and their business model of ensuring savings for all the artisans. Our relationship is two – way. We supply his company with dyed yarn to use for some of their cotton blanket production, and they supply us with high quality cotton blankets that we sell to our customers in Addis Ababa.
We also purchase innovative cotton hats from them, which are hand crocheted. The hats are a great addition to Sabahar collections, and demand is high with both our local and international customers.
Company: Felek Books
Felek is an up-and-coming company in Ethiopia making notebooks, backpacks and conference bags. Felek is an Amharic word that means 'planet' which encapsulates their vision of creating products that positively impact the environment.
Felek combines traditional artisanship with contemporary ecofriendly designs. By drawing inspiration from African cultures, Felek hopes to reimagine and recreating a new Africa. Felek is making efforts to put a dent in illiteracy and to increase the reach of education in disenfranchised sectors of the population, by following a business model that promises to cover the cost of one student’s exercise book supply for an entire school year for every notebook purchased.
We so respect the creative, high quality work of Felek and their commitment to Ethiopia. In addition to selling their books at our shop in Addis Ababa, we give them any bits of fabric that we have left over from our sewing department. They can use even the smallest amount in combination with leather or paper for the covers of their books.
We love this relationship that helps us recycle everything and waste nothing!!