Inspired by the love for our traditional hand weaving
Paradise Fashion was inspired by a love for traditional, Ethiopian hand weaving and the desire to preserve the beauty of this tradition and empower women across Ethiopia with sustainable employment opportunities.
Hand woven cotton fabrics have been integral to the Ethiopian economy for centuries. Starting with the raw cotton, traditional weavers quickly became artisans as the quality of the spun cotton and the complexity and intricacy of the woven designs propelled the market.
Historically, the art of handweaving was passed down from father to son and for some of the heavier looms, men remain the primary weavers. However, more recently, as designs have become more sophisticated and patterns more intricate, women have been carrying on the tradition and with a model that allows for apprenticeship, women can earn a sustainable income as they learn and grow to become exceptional at this beautiful craft.
This is the model we employ at Paradise Fashion and since 1992, Genet Kebede, our founder, and her largely female team have been designing authentic, high quality products that enrich the cultural heritage of Ethiopia with modern design. For us it is a celebration of our history, an opportunity to share the beauty of this tradition with the world and a way to empower more women to live to their potential with the support of a sustainable income for themselves and their families.
Genet Kebede was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From a young age, she loved fashion and the rich textiles she found in her own culture, yet she appreciated the inspiration coming from other countries and specifically the rich design heritage of Italy. In pursuit of her dreams, she took the opportunity to study fashion design and garment construction in Italy and then Argentina.
However, Genet always knew she would return to her home. Living through the significant political disruptions that led to near famine for much of Ethiopia during her childhood, she believed she had an opportunity to contribute to her country. She wanted to help the many people, particularly women, she saw in difficult circumstances in her city. She also wanted to share the beauty of her country’s rich weaving traditions with the world. Through her own fashion label, Genet saw an opportunity to do both.
In 1992, Paradise Fashion was born. Since founding the label, Genet has been celebrating the cultural tradition of Ethiopian hand-weaving with a contemporary design aesthetic and providing sustainable employment to her largely female team. As a pioneer in Ethiopian fashion, Genet has built a brand and a business that supports the livelihood of a network of over 55 Ethiopian women who, with their skill, preserve and enhance the art of her country’s rich textile heritage.