The lalibela girl Mahlet Afework Gebremichael | MAFI since 2011 | Mafi is a renowned fashion designer based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She started her career at 16 as a model and musician, while simultaneously studying nursing. She left school and quit modeling to follow her passion and become a professional fashion designer. Mafi has since gained critical acclaim for her cutting-edge designs; winning the 2012 Origin Africa's design award, showcasing her work at African Fashion Week New York 2012, and winning the 2010 Designer of the Year award from Alliance Ethio-Française at European Fashion Day in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mafi works exclusively with hand-woven fabrics made by women. She creates clothing and accessories which are fresh and cutting-edge and at the same time wearable. Working with hand-woven fabrics is a way for Mafi to give back to support women weavers and artisans.
The connection between hand-woven fabrics and Ethiopian culture and history is something Mafi explores in her work. Culture and tradition can sometimes become as essential and as invisible as air.
Pushing herself creatively; Mafi produces contemporary pieces with ancient fabrics, giving visibility to the diversity and depth of Ethiopian culture and tradition.
Mafi is also best known for dressing Ethiopian celebrities, prominent figures in Ethiopia. Her work in general has been showcased in different countries and received much recognition by well known Medias including BBC, Zen Magazine, and Forbs Women Africa 2015 to mention a few.
The recent work with International Trade Center (ITC) on empowering women by working with the local artisans had led Mafi to speak on international stages like London Parliament seminar on the topic of “Trade and women’s economic empowerment” and during Ted x talks, TEDxPlaceDesNations Geneva, on “Ancient Tradition/ Modern Fashion” as a sustainable designer. (Below please view the link)
For the past five years Mafi created a strong foothold in the Ethiopian fashion industry which has led her to become one of the influential figures in the industry. Due to this fact; Mafi has been selected as one of the three influential youths in Ethiopia to work as an Ambassador for Coca Cola campaign “one billion reasons to believe” (below please view the link)
For this young and talented African start the sky is the limit and in a few years to come Mafi is planning to diversify her work to take the international market by storm.
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