Semhal Guesh at the Innatex trade fair in Germany

17.06.2022
A blog article by Semhal Guesh, Founder and Managing Director of Kabana Leather
about her visit to the Innatex trade fair in Germany.

INNATEX is the largest trade and order fair for sustainable textiles.

Travelling for fairs amidst Covid-19

Everyone can all generally agree that travelling is always quite the experience. There’s a lot to enjoy, learn and share, regardless of where your travels take you. This February, I travelled to Germany to attend the Innatex fair. As chair of the Ethiopian Fashion Community (EFC), I represented the other EFC members at the fair. When planning my trip initially, I was meant to attend both the Neonyt and Innatex fairs. However, with the escalating infection rate in covid19 cases, the neonyt fair was cancelled. This was quite a big disappointment because the EFC had invited several potential clients to this fair. In order not to completely miss out the opportunity to meet these clients, our agent and business consultants had to reach out to them and instead invite them to the Innatex fair and also arrange for in person meetings with some of them, especially since the two fairs were not taking place within the same vicinity.

Reach the goal with resilience

Despite all the inconveniences and changes caused by the covid 19 restrictions, I finally made it to the Innatex fair! With support from our agent, we set up the EFC stand, which included products from the member companies; Enzi, Shimena and Kabana. Once the set up was done, I must say, I was proud of what I saw! It was very exciting to see the outcome of all the planning and hard work that the EFC team and all of our consultants had put in. Having the opportunity to engage with visitors and listen to what they had to say about our products was really awesome. They shared very encouraging and insightful feedback, which for me as CEO, Kabana and chair-EFC was priceless! Besides being able to attend the fair, it was also very interesting to discover new trends on the German market. This definitely gave me ideas for our upcoming collection...So all I can say is, be on the look out!!!

Products of the Ethiopian Fashion Community

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Ethiopian tradition of handloom weaving

A blog article about the traditional handloom weaving art in Ethiopia. The methods of making Shimena's textiles have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years.

The village of Dorze
Place of origin of Ethiopian weaving

The culture of handloom weaving in Ethiopia was spread throughout the country both during and after the reign of Emperor Menelik (1890s). The Dorze are a small ethnic group with about 28,000 members in Ethiopia. They live mainly in the south of the country in villages around Chencha and Arba Minch in Semien Omo district, part of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region. A major occupation of many Dorze is traditional weaving.

Local weaver making her own loom.

Handcrafted in Ethiopia

These days, the word "Dorze" is also used as a synonym for weaving in Ethiopia.  Another meaning of "Dorze" is to describe the weavers from the highlands. The weavers from the Gamo highlands are among the pioneers of weaving in Ethiopia. Because of their excellent skills in producing exquisite textiles and garments, the weavers and their design, style and structure are highly regarded. The art of weaving is passed down orally from generation to generation, from father to son. Weaving and its associated activities are family and community oriented, so each member of the family has a task and work area in the community. Traditionally, men are the ones who take on weaving and the production of textiles and garments as a task. Shimena wants to change these structures and also enables women to learn this ancient weaving culture. Firew Konjo, the founder of Shimena, plans to expand the network of local, self-employed weavers, to teach unemployed young people how to weave on the loom and to employ them on a long-term basis in the different areas of the production chain.

A handloom near the property of an employee

Most of the weavers build their own looms from bamboo and eucalyptus. All materials are sourced locally from the village of Dorze. The weavers set up their handloom near their traditional hut on the grounds of their homestead or in a separate area. This area is used entirely for weaving. With the help of the traditional and manual handloom, the different types of textiles are made from warp and weft yarn (threads). The main purpose of the hand loom is to maintain the tension of the warp threads to facilitate the weaving in of the weft threads.

 

An Ethiopian handloom consists of the following parts:

Parts for handlooms - reed, reed frame, fabric beam and cable harness
A winding wheel
Shuttles and bobbins
Bamboo reed
A Shimena employee at the craft of weaving
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Semhal Guesh at the Innatex trade fair in Germany

In addition to the classic clothing sector, numerous other textiles such as accessories, home textiles, fabrics, toys and much more from the fair fashion sector will be exhibited. Accordingly, INNATEX offers time for an intensive exchange and good conversation between traders.

Read more

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