Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


May 1st, 2015

Sancho’s Dress ‘Scarves & Sustainability’ Kickstarter

Sancho’s Dress is an ethical, organic and fair-trade clothing store based in Exeter, Devon. From the beginning, their focus has been on the promotion of alternative, ecological lifestyles, and the vibrancy of Africa. They have since gone on to nurture a community of like-minded people who know they can bring about change in the world.

Founder Kalkidan Legesse – born in Ethiopia and raised in the UK – had always had a strong vision and burning need to bring change to Africa. Along with her partner, Vidmantas Markevicius, the two opened Sancho’s Dress, and began to sell clothing and products hand-made in Africa. Intent on transparent business, they created close, trusting bonds with their employees in Ethiopia, always paying them four times the national Ethiopian average, and ensuring their work environments were safe and comfortable.

Since then, Sancho’s Dress has grown stronger, and they have now launched their Kickstarter project, ‘Scarves & Sustainability’. Through the support of backers choosing from their wide range of exciting rewards, they will be able to set up a workshop in the beautiful Debra M’arkos area of Ethiopia. Here, they will employ six women. At the heart of this grassroots industry are mothers and widows, and these are the individuals Sancho’s Dress will be bringing job opportunities to.

Their deep belief is that opening businesses such as this one is much more effective than simply giving aid to developing countries. Kalkidan – who worked for several NGOs in Ethiopia in the past – has experienced first-hand the limited ability of charities to have any long-lasting impact on development. However, by employing tailors in Ethiopia, she has witnessed small communities flourish independently. It is for this reason that Sancho’s Dress can make a change – alongside the support of backers such as yourselves – through their ‘Scarves & Sustainability’ campaign.

So, where do the scarves come in? Well, it’s the scarves that will be created in the workshop. Made from hand-picked Ethiopian cotton, the scarves are weaved using traditional hand-looms. These are an appropriate technology for the rural area, as they can operate despite the lack of complex industrial infrastructure (including roads and power supplies!). The fact that this ancient technology uses no electricity protects the environment, which is incredibly important at Sancho’s Dress. Coloured silk bands run along the bottom of the soft, elegant scarves, and our two designs – Amaru and Butu – have been made with self-expression and individual tastes in mind.

The change Sancho’s Dress could bring about by opening a workshop would be immediate and self-sustaining, allowing the women to support themselves, their family and community. They are at the fore-front of this sort of action, and are asking you to join them for the adventure.

-Nickie Shobeiry, Sancho’s Dress blogger

Sancho’s Dress website:

‘Scarves & Sustainability’ Kickstarter Campaign:


Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-30 um 21.55.15

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-30 um 21.54.52Kalkidan in an Ethiopian market

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-30 um 21.55.05 Woman in Ethiopia using the hand-loom




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