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Best feet forward : A new generation of Ethiopian fashion entrepreneurs
A new generation of Ethiopian fashion entrepreneurs is changing perceptions as well as creating jobs, writes DEIRDRE MCQUILLAN, by tapping the potential of global markets
THE SPRAWLING CITY of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and home to almost four million people, is not the most obvious location for a flourishing global fashion company. It’s a long way from Los Angeles, where the cool footwear styles created by a young Ethiopian entrepreneur and sold on the internet became an overnight hit with thousands of hip American urbanites. When Bethlehem Alemu created Sole Rebels in 2005, making shoes from worn-out truck tyres in Addis Ababa’s poorest and most disadvantaged area, she became one of the country’s most remarkable international success stories.
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