posted in fresh from the blogFresh From the Continent Blog | Tags : Africa, african inspired, afropolitan, Changing the Narrative, contemporary african clothes, contemporary african fashion, Dark Continent, design, Ethical Fashion, Ethiopia, Feminism, living flavour, Mafi Clothing, Mahlet Afework, off the beaten path
This Contemporary African designer is young, fresh, hip, and phenomenal. Her name is Mahlet Afework and her brand is Mafi. When we say young, hip, and cool, we mean she is young, hip and so cool. Mahlet began modeling and singing when she was only 16. She was also studying to be a nurse. One of the youngest designers we have blogged about, she quit modeling and nursing school to become a professional fashion designer. Two years later the Mafi brand was born. A few years later, Mafi won the 2010 Designer of the Year award from Alliance Ethio-Française at European Fashion Day in Addis. Mafi’s future only got brighter as she won the 2012 Origin Africa’s design award, received an invitation to showcase her work at African Fashion Week New York 2012.
These gorgeous African clothes are the product of a socially responsible firm and a designer with incredible creative talent. Mafi’s fabrics are exclusively hand-woven by Ethiopian women. According to Africa Fashion Guide, this is the way that she can give back and support women weavers in a male-dominated weaving community. Women are traditionally relegated to spinning and weaving has largely remained a male vocation. In addition, weaving in Ethiopian culture is considered to be a low occupation and thus not many weavers get paid a livable wage (go to designmom.com to learn more about the Ethiopian weaving industry). Given this, Mafi’s focus on female weavers opens up a space where women can practice their skills while making a fair wage. The Mafi brand firmly believes that giving back to our community in sustainable way is necessary to build a healthy and economically sound future. It works in a human working environment and partners with those wavers who do not make use of child labor. It also promotes ethical fashion and eco-friendly products. Thus we can wear these pieces with flair and feel good about them at the same time!
Another crowning feature of the Mafi brand is its connection to Ethiopian culture and history. Throughout her work, Mafi strives to challenge herself creatively to marry hand-woven fabrics, with Ethiopian culture, and Ethiopian history. The products are contemporary African pieces made with ancient fabrics, “giving visibility to the diversity and depth of Ethiopian culture and tradition.”
Ethiopia is a beautiful country with different culture, history and language. And our unique traditional clothing, out beautiful people, weather and landscape are very much convenient for the fashion and modeling industry.” –Mahlet Afework on Africa Fashion Guide
We love that Mafi places emphasis on Ethiopia itself and the richness and uniqueness of the country. As one of the few uncolonized countries on the African continent, the work Mafi produces is a testament to how rich and vibrant Ethiopian culture is. The Mafi brand is what we call truly authentic.
Being so young yet extremely socially conscious is one of the many reasons we love Mafi. She is incredible and so are her clothes!
Photo Credit: Google Images