Fangirling at Africa Fashion Week 2017

This Concierge has been having a ball this week as two major fashion events rolled into her town; Africa Sourcing and Fashion Week and Hub Africa. Events, pop-ups, exhibits and runway shows, there’s been plenty to keep an Addis-based Nomad busy. The fashion scene in East Africa is incredibly exciting; there are tonnes of passionate, creative and sickeningly talented people with a great vision for serving the men and women of the region. I did not keep my chill. Read about some of the exciting designers I discovered this week…

This Concierge has been having a ball this week as two major fashion events rolled into her town; Africa Sourcing and Fashion Week and Hub Africa. Events, pop-ups, exhibits and runway shows, there’s been plenty to keep an Addis-based Nomad busy. The fashion scene in East Africa is incredibly exciting; there are tonnes of passionate, creative and sickeningly talented people with a great vision for serving the men and women of the region. I did not keep my chill. Here are some of the exciting designers I discovered this week:

With Ethiopian designer Fikirte Addis at the helm, Yefikir takes elements of traditional textiles and design to create international fashion and professional wear. Fikirte is passionate about the incredible quality and beauty of fabrics available in Ethiopia and works together with other designers on building the social consciousness of the industry in Ethiopia; initiatives like a child labour free commitment and certification.Vivo Activewear, a rising Kenyan brand for the modern professional African woman, was co-founded by Wandia Gichuru. She believes that women in East Africa are under-served by the fashion industry and is on a mission to change the way that Africa sees herself through fashion. With 11 shops and counting, Vivo provides ready to wear and accessible fashion options, even available online.

Naked Ape Style, the vividly name brand from South Africa’s Shaldon Kopman, began as a bespoke brand, and is working towards sustainability as a business and promoting craftspeople from the continent, utilising only African makers. Having dressed the likes of Samuel L Jackson an Barack Obama, this menswear label is high fashion and eminently dapper.Ye Tseday Design is an Ethiopian brand that uses bespoke handwoven materials, hand-crafted in Ethiopia. The collection on display as part of ASFW combined high-quality and glamorous material with flowing and flattering silhouettes, with subtle nods to Ethiopian culture, such as a halterneck using a mix of material and traditional jewellry.

Of course, some of these designers are high fashion and shopping with them is more studio-based than online shopping cart, but here are some ready-to-wear items from Vivo Activewear and my stalwart favourites, Zaaf and Sole Rebels.
Africa Fashion Week 2017

 

New Openings & Discoveries in Addis Ababa

Highrises are shooting up the city over, the stadium is taking shape and there are a blissful number of new cafes and restaurants opening in Ethiopia’s capital. Here’s my September roundup of the newest or hottest spots in Addis Ababa.

Highrises are shooting up the city over, the stadium is taking shape and there are a blissful number of new cafes and restaurants opening in Ethiopia’s capital. It slightly lessens the blow of beloved institutions that are no more. And it’s great fun checking them out! Here’s my September roundup of the newest or hottest spots in Addis Ababa.

Lime Tree Bole

Bole Rwanda

Lime Tree has returned to Bole and in almost the same spot. The new location teams its inspirational quotes & calligraphy with dark walls and high tables, giving a more modern and chic  interior. The inside is spacious and relaxing. The ever evolving menu of refreshing juices, wholesome and safe salads and fun theme days is exactly what you’d expect if you’ve been to the Kazanchis location. The antipasti selection is a steal and the falafel wrap also highly recommended. A great addition to this area of Bole.
(Same building as Boston Day Spa, directly behind the spa, entrance on the left-hand side of the building).
A plate of salad and antipasti at Lime Tree Addis Ababa

Steam Cafe

Opposite IEC, Old Airport

It’s not brand new but Steam Cafe is a rarity in Addis and definitely warrants some space on this blog. This small boutique type cafe is something straight out of the pages of a design magazine. There’s even a powder blue coffee machine. It’s not style over substance though; the coffee was first rate and the fasting banana muffins too tempting to resist. Rumour has it an outside deck overlooking the river will be ready for the end of the rains. Some well needed green space in Addis.
The lovely interior of Steam Cafe Addis Ababa

Revolver Restaurant

Top of the Intercontinental Apartment Building, Kazanchis 

Though the interiors are nothing to write home about, the views and food are what really make this new restaurant a stand out. We arrived at opening time so we’d get views across the city in both the light and the dark. A full loop of the gently revolving platform which all tables sit on takes a little over an hour. The international buffet features an excellent salad and antipasti bar, a live wok / pasta station and a solid variety of tasty hot dishes. The dessert table was almost too pretty to dig into, but we did and were glad. Go quickly before everyone finds out about it. Particularly a good spot to take visitors.

Olivia’s

Tele Bole, next to Eastridge Church Addis / Addis Fine Art

Opened at New Year, Olivia’s is a large, stylish cafe, right by Edna Mall on a blessedly quieter side street. Masses of windows and fabulous lighting makes this new favourite light and airy. The pastries were top notch with thick custard and a fruity top and they serve a good strong and smooth macchiato. The cinnamon rolls were delightfully sticky. The colourful petit fours selection was very tempting, were it not 10am on our visit. As a nice touch, your bill comes in a blue and white enamel mug. Snatch a sofa spot and you won’t be moving any time soon.
Olivia’s has opened with a focus on doing coffee and cake well but plans are to soon expand to a full cafe menu. The planned breakfast includes waffles, french toast and omelettes and lunch will follow shortly after with pizza and burgers. We will definitely be back to try.