business corporate responsibility development

Enzi: ethical footwear, made in Ethiopia

“Our vision is to change the perception of Africa through the production of high quality, well crafted footwear” say the team behind Enzi, which launches in the UK next month. The company’s designer shoes are made in Ethiopia with local leather, with a commitment to the craftsmen and women making the shoes. Workers are guaranteed a fair wage, will share the profits and have a say in how the company is run through a community board.

“Right now, when most people think of Ethiopia, they probably don’t think of the world’s highest quality leather, entrepreneurial manufacturers looking to set a global standard or communities looking for ways to support themselves through international commerce” says Sam Imende, Enzi’s CEO. “They think of stereotypes established decades ago. If ENZI achieves its goal, this will change.”

My sister forwarded this press release to me because she knows I’m interested in ethical fashion and in great development stories from Africa, but also because we both went to school with the team behind Enzi. My sister and I were two years apart, and these guys were all in the year between us. It’s always great to find RVA people out and about in the real world. They have a way of turning up in really interesting places, and this social enterprise is no exception.

So, check them out on Twitter, look out for the shoes in May, and let’s put Ethiopia on the fashion map.

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