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


August 31st, 2012

SAWA Shoes Takes to the Railway for its AW12 Lookbook – DESIGNER

One of AFG’s favourite African based shoe brands, purely because they proudly emphasize and present a strong ‘Made in Africa’ story, is SAWA Shoes who have featured in our one of its kind, coffee table book Fashion Africa.

They are not a charity brand nor a fairtrade brand, they are a normal shoe company doing business in Africa, sourcing their materials, production and even web design and communications in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and sees this as a real way to support Africa and not to use Africa for self-glorification.

The company is based in Paris, France and was established in November 2009. Mehdi, founder of SAWA Shoes is keen that their sneakers are bought not only because they are made in Africa and help to support the growth the growth of an industry but also because they are a stylish and high quality product, and on this aspect they certainly don’t disappoint. Taking inspiration from vintage designs they have created a range of classic low and high ankle trainers, combining leather and woven uppers in a number of colourways.

The Fall lookbook has been shot in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, in the closed-down railway station which used to link Addis Ababa to Djibouti…it is really a unique place in Ethiopia and produces a strong authentic, vintage quality of shots which provides a perfect compliment to the beautifully crafted footwear.

Fall-Winter 2012 below, features their new MUST HAVE suede collection which consists in 2 low cut shoes and 2 mid cut shoes ( in grey-white and blue-white version). The contrasted sole on the top of the suede leather really gives a vintage attitude to the shoes and we simply cant get enough of them here at AFG!

SAWA Shoes AW12 collection

SAWA Shoes AW12 collection

SAWA Shoes AW12 collection

SAWA Shoes AW12 collection

SAWA Shoes AW12 collection

SAWA project does not have the so-called generosity of brands which use Africa just to glorify themselves, their philosophy is not one of an audacious philanthropy to use Africa but it is about taking on the challenge of doing business in Africa. The vast majority of Africa’s exports are raw materials such as agricultural goods, minerals and metals, there is comparatively very little manufacturing in Africa and very little value is added to these raw materials before they leave the continent, this minimises the benefits to the local economies and hinders economic growth. By ensuring that as much of the value added in shoe production stays within African hands, SAWA are helping the Ethiopian shoe industry to grow and develop as well as maximizing job creation. So to add value in Africa they  buy the materials in Ethiopia and  transform them into finished products there. Sawa is a fashion brand which has taken
the challenge to fabricate shoes in Africa. They say:

“we produce our shoes in Africa so that the all added value of our project benefits to the African continent. We are convinced that the best revolution for Africa is the industrial revolution!”

We highly agree!

Read more about them here:



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