Ethiopian fashion designers are conquering the world catwalks with shoes from old car tires. The small Ethiopian firm at first took advantage of the long-standing habit of fellow countrymen to put into operation any things that had served their time, and also created new jobs. In the second most populous in Africa, but impoverished due to constant droughts, it is customary to value and use any junk. In addition, the rebels who overthrew the dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam 20 years ago were also shod in sandals made from a piece of an old tire tied from above with a piece of rope. However, shoes of this "design" are common in many African countries.
“Then we could not afford something better,” said 31-year-old Betlehem Tilahun Alemu, who created a company for the production of unusual shoes seven years ago, in which five people worked. True, she nevertheless finalized and developed the idea that had seized the masses, “refreshed” it. Now an enterprising woman leads a whole network of industries whose products are marketed not only in Ethiopia itself, but also in New York and London. The Soul Rebels brand has become popular, 300 people already make designer shoes.
Alema does not shy away from hiring socially outcasts: for example, she employs 55 people who have had leprosy and lost fingers. “At the same time, they are skilled craftsmen, they make shoes exclusively with their hands, and our factory has absolutely no emissions of greenhouse gases,” Alemu is proud.
Nowadays, the assortment of products includes not only sandals and slippers, but also shoes, high laced shoes. A proven tread is used as the sole, and jute, leather, cotton are sewn on top. True, the price jumped to 450-800 birr (26-46 dollars). Now, these shoes are not affordable for most Ethiopians, but are successfully sold in 33 countries around the world. 90 percent of the products are exported. Alemu has many international awards for product quality and original design. In the coming months, it is expected to open branded stores in Canada, Japan, Spain and Taiwan. Bags are added to the boots, the secret of success is the same: the base is made of an old tire, and the top is made of natural material, ITAR-TASS reports.
Fashion designers from Ethiopia conquer world catwalks with shoes from old car tires. A small Ethiopian company at first used the long-standing habit of fellow countrymen to float any who served their ...