In the heart of Ethiopia, about 10 years ago, two young men had the motivation to establish a sustainable footwear brand. How has this footwear brand grown? What impact has it had on Ethiopia, their economy, and Africa at large?
ENZI footwear brand is an Ethiopian brand that produces premium casual footwear made from sustainable materials such as high grade leather, woven fabrics, organic cotton and traditional crafts. The founders, Azariah Mengistu and Jawad Braye, founded this brand with the aim of correcting the wrong perceptions of Africa through design, artisanal production, and a transparent manufacturing process.
“If we knew we were going to tackle the negative perceptions associated with our continent, we knew we had to create a high-end product that could stand toe-to-toe with well-respected brands in the market.”
How It All Began
Ethiopia is home to many sustainable products such as organic cotton and high grade leathers that are used to produce handmade sneakers. Starting in a garage in Ethiopia, the founders recognized a need to design shoes that showcase the culture and heritage in Ethiopia.
The fact that the materials they use are locally sourced gives them a unique opportunity to take familiar silhouettes and develop them into classic collections.
The core of the brand’s vision lies at the intersection of design and sustainability, as all their footwears, shoe boxes and covers are made entirely from sustainable materials.
ENZI shoes are crafted from a combination of high quality materials. The materials used to produce the shoes are locally sourced and sustainable. The shoe boxes and packaging used for the shoes are made from processed dried leaves.
The organic cotton used is grown in a way that uses methods and materials that lessen its negative impact on our environment. Due to the fact that Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa, high-grade leather, which is great for shoe application, is easily accessible. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv32mP2Altk/embed/?cr=1&v=12&wp=326&rd=http%3A%2F%2Flocalhost%3A8000&rp=%2Fpost%2Fheres-how-sustainable-footwear-brand-enzi-footwear-is-making-waves-in-africa#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A2965.700000000652%2C%22ls%22%3A2075.910000014119%2C%22le%22%3A2078.525000018999%7D
Other materials used are woven fabrics and dried leaves, amongst other things.
Impact Of ENZI Footwear In Africa
In Africa, ENZI shoes fill the gap in the market between expensive formal footwear and low-cost trainers with versatile designs that can be paired with a range of wardrobe styles.
With their in-house production lines and customized designs, ENZI has been able to employ many artisans and craftsmen in Africa.
“Designing at the source gives us the freedom to create a truly inspiring brand.”
The ENZI footwear brand is definitely helping the Ethiopian economy, as well as Africa’s with their sustainable designs.