Afro Vision Fashion Show Enables Ethiopian Talent to Shine

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A model presents a creation during Miss Five Star 2023 Beauty Contest final round in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 4, 2023. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)
A model presents a creation during Miss Five Star 2023 Beauty Contest final round in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 4, 2023. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)

Firdosa Adem, an Ethiopian designer, has been honing her fashion designing skills. Her journey to success in the fashion business, however, has been hindered by the lack of opportunities to showcase her work and cultivate her talent.

Just like many other young aspiring designers and models in the East African country, Adem, 23, complained that she has faced numerous challenges due to the underdeveloped fashion industry in Ethiopia.

“The most serious challenge I encountered over the past two years was the lack of opportunities to showcase my fashion designing creations and harness my talent,” Firdosa told Xinhua in a recent interview. “The fashion industry in our country is not well-developed, and opportunities are very scarce for us — passionate and talented designers — to present our creations.”

The scarcity of fashion events and opportunities has greatly impacted the visibility of Ethiopian designers and models, ultimately affecting their reach to the general public.

Adem and fellow young designers and models argue that runway modeling, which showcases clothing and accessories crafted by local designers and brands, is in particular a rarity in Ethiopia.

Against the backdrop of the daunting challenges, a fashion show event, dubbed Afro Vision Fashion Show, was organized by Five Star Elevator Manufacturing PLC, a Chinese company, and its subsidiary, the Five Star Entertainment Company, Saturday, offering a unique platform for aspiring Ethiopian talent to shine.

Recognizing its potential to connect with fashion enthusiasts and reach potential customers, Adem seized the opportunity to present her fashion designs at the Afro Vision Fashion Show.

“These events provide a rare occasion for us to showcase our work and harness our talent,” she emphasized. “Such events serve as a link between us and the fashion industry, paving the way for us to realize our aspirations on continental and international stages.”

Five Star Elevator Manufacturing PLC, the parent company, joined the entertainment industry of Ethiopia through Five Star Entertainment Company, the subsidiary, in late August 2022.

The Afro Vision Fashion Show is part of a series of annual beauty contests and fashion show events organized. In addition to fashion events, the subsidiary company has also formed a musical band, two dancing groups named Iconic Divas and Royal Flash, and an idol trainees team.

These initiatives aim to reach a wider audience across Africa and beyond, promoting cultural exchange and nurturing young talent, according to a corporate executive.

Bruktawit Habtamu, a young Ethiopian model who won the Miss Five Star 2023 Beauty Contest in March, expressed her appreciation for the fashion show event.

Habtamu said the lack of economic advantages and limited recognition of the modeling and fashion industry in Ethiopia have discouraged many individuals from pursuing it as a full-time career. “However, Five Star company is doing a lot to change that. They provide opportunities not only for runway modeling but also for various other areas within the industry,” she said.

Habtamu stressed that events like the Afro Vision Fashion Show offer a significant chance for aspiring Ethiopian models and designers to showcase their talent and gain exposure.

Ma Ning, the owner and director general of both the parent company and the subsidiary, emphasized the commitment to serving the local community.

Recognizing the growing need for training and opportunities in the fashion and modeling industry among young Ethiopians, the Chinese investor has taken the initiative to help harness their potential and talent.

Ma said by recruiting young raw talents and amateur models, singers and dancers, his company provides a platform for these individuals to unleash their creativity and pursue their dreams.

Fashion enthusiasts who attended Saturday’s fashion show, the second of the kind, also agreed that such events not only provide a platform for young Ethiopian designers and models to exhibit their creativity but also serve as a catalyst for the development of the fashion industry in Ethiopia.

Lio Walker, an attendee at the Afro Vision Fashion Show, expressed his enthusiasm for the event.

“The show was incredibly exciting and beautifully expressed a part of Africa,” Walker said. “Opportunities like this are rare in Addis Ababa and should be further developed. We should create more platforms like this to showcase and nurture local talent.”

With the support of companies like Five Star Elevator Manufacturing PLC and its subsidiary, Five Star Entertainment Company, young aspiring Ethiopian models and designers are given the opportunity to pursue their passion and contribute to the vibrant world of fashion and modeling, industry observers say.

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