Magazine article African Business

Eritrea Festival in London Young Designers Strut Their Stuff

Magazine article African Business

Eritrea Festival in London Young Designers Strut Their Stuff

Article excerpt

The Eritrean Festival in London has become an unmissable annual event - and proof that Eritrea's creative spirit is as vibrant as ever. Stephen Williams reports, with photographs from one of the country's leading young photographers

Eritrea may have lost a bitter 30 month war with its neighbour Ethiopia, but is showing the same resolve it demonstrated in defeating Haile Miriam Mengistu's army, one of the largest and best equipped in Africa, in a 30 year independence war. Eritreans are fighting to rebuild a shattered economy and restore their self-confidence.

Pivotal to that effort is the Eritrean diaspora, scattered throughout the world. It's not only the Eritrean business community which is involved in the effort but there is also a strong artistic movement that is harnessing Eritrean culture and marketing it to the world.

For the past two years, this movement has been displaying its remarkable talents during the annual Eritrean Festivals. Painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians and fashion and industrial designers all exhibit their work. On these two pages, we offer readers a sample of what some of Eritrea's most creative minds have been producing.

Eritrea's fashion designers always feature very strongly. This is hardly surprising since Eritrea has long had a tradition of designing and manufacturing clothing. But what has made the fashion world sit up and take notice is the dexterity with which Eritrean fashion designers have drawn on their own culture to create garments which - while using traditional materials and design elements - are bright, modern and highly desirable.

Accompanying the annual fashion shows are some of the country's best loved singers and musicians.

Push Button Chair

Eritrean inventor, T. Michael Sebhatu, took the opportunity to unveil his innovative new concept at the Eritrean Festival 2001. …

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