Photograph by Duane Perry
Menbere Alemayehu makes textiles by making a difference. Alemayehu’s Menby’s Design trains women in Ethiopia as weavers and seamstresses while providing good pay and healthy working conditions. The women use their skills to create boldly colored home and fashion accessories such as table runners, blankets, scarves and bags according to Alemayehu’s designs.
“My inspiration comes from local old weavings, traditional jewelry and old churches,” she says. “I usually look at Western magazines and catalogs for trends in Western styles and colors.”
Alemayehu studied fashion and apparel
her textiles graces the wall of the UD department of fashion and apparel studies. “Hopefully, Menbere’s success as a designer and head of a fair trade business will inspire others to make a positive social impact through their careers,” department chair Marsha Dickson says.
Alemayehu sells products from Menby’s Design at Studio 24 (
, Lewes, 644-4424), Village Imports (
, 368-9923), and