With HUB of Africa coming up, we wanted to get to know the founder and creator of the most exciting Fashion Week happening in the continent. Mahlet Teklemariam brought HUB of Africa to life with the vision of creating an event that would expose and highlight, great African design-talents to the international market. Generating a linkage between designers, buyers, manufacturers and media across the country and beyond, plays a significant part in growing and developing a fashion industry that is not only internationally recognized, but also sustainable.
Malet has pushed her vision a long way, from its conception in 2010 to today; being one of the most prominent and most successful Fashion Week events of Africa.
How did you come up with HUB of Africa? What inspired you?
With African Union headquartered in Ethiopia, it made sense for the African Fashion Week to be established in Addis Ababa. My love for fashion was impacted while I grew up in New York. After moving back to Ethiopia in 2008 and learning there were no other African Fashion Weeks in the region, I felt there was a need to create a platform for the designers and promote the industry.
What were the hardest obstacles to overcome in the making?
Lack of awareness of the fashion industry and the lack of craftsmanship of talented designers was a little difficult.
What vision do you have for the future of HUB of Africa?
Similar to other major Fashion Weeks, i.e., Millan, New York, Paris, our vision for Hub of Africa is to continue to be a platform by inspiring, promoting and linking designers with buyers globally.
What advice can you give young people wanting to enter the fashion industry?
Go for it. Be yourself, find your own identity and don’t copy what others are doing. Be conscious of your designs and become a sustainable brand.
What have you learnt in the process of creating HUB of Africa?
There are various resources as well as talent across Africa, and there is a need to integrate them. With open trade and market linkage, we can strengthen the industry as a whole.
As a kid, what career did you want to pursue?
I obtained my Bachelor degree in marketing. I don’t recall a specific career I wanted to pursue as a kid; however, I always had a passion for fashion.
What differentiates an African Fashion Week from a European one?
African Fashion Week is diverse from region to region. It’s often colourful and rich in tradition and culture.
Can you describe HUB of Africa in three words?
Inspire, create, promote
How would you describe your style?
Free, open, diverse
Can you tell us a little secret about yourself?
I love music, and I love to dance. I can’t stop myself from dancing if I hear a good song.