Made in Ethiopia
The FOMI Collection helps pave a path for African luxury goods.
During a return visit to Ethiopia in 2010, Afomia Tesfaye marveled at the quality of sheep leather produced in her homeland. Inspired by the seemingly untapped potential, and emboldened by a career in the apparel industry, Afomia decided to move back to Ethiopia and create FOMI — a handbag collection made from the fine sheepskin. It didn’t matter that she lacked any formal design training: She had a dream, excellent raw materials and a love for her country. A year later, her line of colorful, modern handbags debuted.
“People are often surprised when they open a FOMI bag and see a ‘Made in
Ethiopia’ label, which I find very satisfying,” says Afomia. “That is always my objective — to defy peoples’ expectations of what is possible in Ethiopia.”
Since the initial product launch, the FOMI Collection has expanded from intricately patterned clutches and totes to also include women’s Oxford shoes. Afomia hopes that all of the brand’s accessories testify to the ability to ethically produce luxury goods in Africa, without compromising on quality or craftsmanship.
Believing that fashion manufacturing could prove a vital economic sector for Africa, Afomia encourages other brands to try the concept on for size and help make that potential a reality.