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Ancient Artisans, East Africa and Eco-Fashion

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Guest Blog Post – The Sancho's Dress Story

Inspired by the ancient, artisanal weaving history of East Africa, and motivated by the strong will to show another side of Ethiopia, Kalkidan Legesse embarked on a journey of a lifetime. She founded Sancho's Dress, an award-winning social enterprise. To start up a weaving workshop, Sancho’s Dress ran a Kickstarter campaign that raised over an incredible £12,000. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0EKw0KGfo[/embed] Using these funds, Kalkidan went on to open a weaving workshop in Northern Ethiopia. The workshop’s aim was to train people - predominantly women - and provide sustainable employment and empowerment to them and their communities. The beautiful garments they create are then stocked in Sancho's flagship store in Devon. The designs are a fusion of Western style and African manufacturing, challenging the perception of Africa put across by so many charities. Sancho's Dress - 2[1] "We were overwhelmed by the success of the Kickstarter," Kalkidan explained, "and how many wonderful people we met as a result of it. The workshop has been a powerful tool to sending a larger message about sustainable fashion and living consciously. We now look forward to building long-lasting relationships with our lovely backers. We also look forward to sharing our Shawls and Ponchos (which can be worn in over 16 different ways!) with the world." [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifA6w5FhK94[/embed] And how about the creation process itself? Using irresistibly soft Ethiopian cotton, the artisans press the fibres through the bamboo teeth of the loom. Using their feet, they then press the pedals and begin weaving the spun cotton. For a town with limited electricity the man-powered looms are a great way to earn a sustainable livelihood. The quest to be both stylish and comfortable is at the centre of their new winter collection, introduced this September. Eco-white shawls and ponchos are striped with Bold Reds, Charcoal Blacks and Pastel Blues, while a large range of scarves show unique and innovative designs. A surprise awaits you with each shawl - large pockets, perfect for those indulgent winter chocolate bars. Similarly, the ponchos have cowl necks which easily transform into elegant hoods, made for draping over your head and shoulders on those chilly days. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FWvq8Zu3XI[/embed] “I don't know about you," Kalkidan explains, "but for me, the most special times are in my personal space - my bed or living room or rooftop - where I relax, unwind and feel at ease. I believe no matter how exciting or demanding the things we do in our lives are, our personal space is key to true well-being and inner solace. For this reason, I am so excited to have put together a collection which I can wear in that space – something which looks great, but feels even better. Something for myself and my space. I hope this is something the world will find exciting, too!” For a full view of the Sancho's dress story, read our previous blog post on the label. www.sanchosdress.com  


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  • Alex Rennison-Reed on

    To have a dream and carry it out is truly inspiring.


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