Bold Vision Meets Stylish Sustainability
There is magic happening in and around Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. It’s a brand of magic handed down through generations of artisans, harnessed and empowered by Sammy Ethiopia. Managing Director and Designer Sammy Abdella tells us, “The Sammy line was launched in the Ethiopian capital in 2006. Founders were astonished to discover a wealth of craft skills, all but lost to the West, which could be applied to a style-forward range of fashion and home accessories.”
The Sammy brand links the artisan skills of one of Africa’s most ancient civilizations with American and European fashion know-how. The result; unique contemporary treasures, made in and out of Addis Ababa, that have already gathered fans from New York to Tokyo.
What sets the Sammy line apart is sophisticated style. Featherweight scarves are hand-woven using skills known in Ethiopia for thousands of years. Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest leather producers; know particularly for supple lamb nappa and for hand-dyeing. Sammy bags and small leather goods are made by local craftsman and incorporate such artisanal skills as hand-printed cotton linings, traditional bead embellishments and embroidery yet are designed to suit current global clienteles. In addition, the company has extensive home decor line of basketry and pottery that are made by women craft masters.”
When the company launched, it employed 50 artisans. This number has grown to approximately 400. It’s a grassroots movement that involves not only sourcing most of its materials regionally, but equips its artisans with the impetus to honor their ancestors and support their families. “Sammy is self-sufficient, ethical business employing both leading local artisans and those with entry-level skills. All those working for Sammy receive a fair wage, are ensured safe working conditions. Collaborating with community organizations and cooperatives creating employment to some of the world’s most marginalized people,” Abdella says.
These principles play an integral part in bringing a line of apparel and home décor that is both sumptuous and earthy to the international marketplace. Such precision, and yes, love, showcases itself in cloudlike scarves begging to be worn and touched, wonderfully patterned clutches, and decadent, casually elegant apparel. Beyond the sensory experience the line offers clients, Sammy Ethiopia remains true to its vision of sustainability and improving the quality of life of a remarkable people.
This combination of traditional technique and skill passed down through generations combined with sophisticated artistry will be exhibited for potential buyers at NY NOW’s Artisan Resource February 4-7 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.
For more information and to buy products, please visit:www.sammyethiopia.com.