Mataano Hub of Africa Fashion Week

Invited to participate in the 2014 Hub of Africa Fashion Week, for our second time, we were excited to visit Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and continue exploring the country, people and culture we fell in love with on our first visit. One of the oldest cultures in the world, Ethiopia is a warm and welcoming land defined by its rich cultural traditions, ancient ruins and ubiquitous natural beauty. We started our Ethiopian odyssey in the capital, Addis Ababa, a lively city nestling in the lofty Entoto Mountains. Renowned for its excellent coffee, brutalist architecture and wild contrasts, in Addis Ababa it is not uncommon to see smartly dressed business men and women walking down the same streets as local shepherds. There were no local shepherds at our fashion show, only the epitome of fashion and style in Addis. We showcased our SS2015 collection at Galani Coffee and Gallery and styled our collection using shoes and accessories designed by local artisans and craftspeople based in Addis, complementing our NY aesthetic to create a clean, modern, and chic show with local Ethiopian accents.  

Awash

After our show, we didn't linger long in the Ethiopian capital, choosing instead to head East. From Addis we headed to Bishoftu, a resort town known for five majestic crater lakes. We stayed in a villa over looking Lake Bishoftu. It was relaxing as it was beautiful and at night we watched a magical sunset. Next stop was Awash National Park, we stayed in a lodge over looking a gorge.  It was  the perfect setting to rest and fall asleep to the hum of waterfalls. The next morning we took a drive in the park to witness the park as it comes alive.  After a morning spent watching wildlife, we headed to Sodere to take a shower in the therapeutic hot springs. After two days of relaxation, we were ready for our next adventure. 

Local children in Bishoftu

Next stop would be the walled city of Harar (city of saints) a labyrinth of narrow alleyways lined by mud-brick buildings. Once the commercial hub between Arabia and Africa; the legendary tales of Harar led both Richard Burton and the French poet Rimbaud here. Today Harar oozes a lost-in-time ambience that enchants all who visit. With mosques, colourful markets, coffee shops and crumbling walls. Harar is colorful and photogenic and the Adare (Hariri) women's dresses and head scarves are particularly eye catching and beautiful. The hyena feeding ritual which takes place every evening, by the city walls, just adds to this town's otherworldly appeal. 

Ultimately, though, it’s Ethiopia’s epic landscapes that really captured our imagination; from the verdant peaks of the Simien Mountains to the sulphur fumaroles of the Danakil Depression, the scenery could influence paintings, provoke poetry, and inspire our next collection!