Video Blog from Arba Minch - Shimena Shows Us How They Make Their Textiles and Introduces Their New Collection
A Video-Blog from Firew Konjo. Commented and summarized by L. Wecera
News from Arba Minch
In the video above, Firew Konjo, the founder of Shimena introduces himself and reveals the Workshop where Shimena creates their new collection.
Each product of the collection is made in this workshop in Abra Minch. As you can see in the video, the artisans of Shimena use traditional instruments and tools in the winding, spinning and weaving processes. The ancient looms have a high cultural but also personal value for the artisans, because some of the looms come from the family property of the artisans and are still the same tools on which their ancestors wove.
Shimena's fight to preserve the Ethiopian weaving culture against the impacts of fast fashion industry is a great success. Through the opportunity to export their products to Europe at fair trade conditions, many jobs could be created, but the impact is even bigger, it created the awareness that these unique cultural goods are valued all over the world and offer a promising prospect to the whole country.
The Production Process of the New Collection
Firew Konjo describes in the next video the production of the new summer collection step by step.
Everything starts with the procurement of the cotton; just like the dyes and almost every other raw materials, this is sourced from the local area around Abra Minch.
The cotton must now be reprocessed in the workshop. Firew introduces us to an employee and shows us how she spins the cotton into yarns on the spinning wheel.
By deftly sliding the spindle over the yarns, the master weaver Sebou is creating a scarf for the new collection. As you can see in the video, the work requires a lot of concentration and dedication.
Afterwards the scarf is washed, ironed and marked with the Shimena logo. After the final quality check, it is then finished and ready to be worn.
The New Collection from Shimena
Here it is: the new collection presented by Firew Konjo.
For the new collection, Shimena selected three particular products:
- A small scarf that provides warmth in the transitional seasons or on chilly summer evenings and can be combined in various ways.
- A big shawl for colder days. As everyone knows, large shawls are in fashion and for many fashion-conscious women, the scarves can not be big enough. So we decided to create a huge one with the measurements 75 to 200 centimeters.
- A poncho. Sewn together from two panels of fabric and decorated with subtle embroidered elements characteristic of the region around Abra Minch. Stoffpaneelen und bestickt mit dezenten Elementen, die charakteristisch für die Region um Abra Minch sind.
The products will be available soon in different patterns and colors.
More Stories About Shimena
The methods of making Shimena textiles have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. The culture of hand weaving in Ethiopia was spread throughout the country both during and after the reign of Emperor Menelik (1890s).
The concept of ‘Natural Dyes’ is by no means a new one and refers to all the dyes derived from the natural sources.
Ethiopia has a long tradition of using natural sources for textile coloration, and Shimena wants to maintain and develop this ancient knowledge.
Every piece of clothing we buy has a story that connects to our own history as soon as we see and wear it for the first time. The stories that happen afterwards we know or they are not written yet, but what about the story before? And by whom was it written?
The challenge that I observed from the artisans is they used to spend all their earnings they got from weaving without any saving.
I have worked in creating lucrative livelihood for young artisans that were abandoning the tradition of weaving to quick income jobs like charcoal production, fuel wood business and similar activities.