The fashion elite and trend influencers of Addis along with various fashion lovers gathered on Sunday March 11 for the launch of NHY Brand Collection. The 1350 square meter large-scale store includes clothes for men, women, children, shoes, accessories and jewelry. 11 brands are represented in the store including Zara, Mango, Bershka, Reserved, Obvious, Mojito, House, Crop and Panncho. The store, launched by entrepreneur Nur Hussein, currently has 40 sales staff and offers beauty services in collaboration with Soreti Spa and Wellness. Their services include a nail salon, waxing, cosmetics and hair extensions. The store is found on the building next to Mafi Mall in front of Bole Medhanialem Church. The event featured a runway show of the clothes in the store followed by cocktails for those in attendance.
Danny Davis, Marketing Manager of NHY Brand Collection, states they opened the outlet to fulfill the demand for quality clothing at affordable prices for individuals that have the buying power. He said they have a good product line of fast fashion available, ensuring the trendiness of their shoppers. People in Addis, he says, are more aware of fashion in Ethiopia; they are more knowledgeable about how it is consistently evolving. Young residents have access to technology and social media and therefore keep up with what’s happening in the international fashion world.
Meskerem Mekonnen, Directing Manager of the store, stated they are targeting middle to high-income individuals that will embrace NHY as an experience. She wants to introduce shopping as entertainment. “We want to fulfill the need for new trendy items. We know there is a seasonal lag with the western market but we’re planning on filling that gap.” Meskerem previously worked as a visual merchandizer for Zara and Manager at Mango for the past 5 years. She brings her vast fashion experience to improve retail fashion in Addis.
Anna Getaneh, former international model and humanitarian, said she was happy to see everything come to life in the fashion show. The store, she believes, will be able to showcase global fashion to local fashion lovers. Her label African Mosaic is one of 5 fashion brands represented in the NHY’s collection along with Mafi, Ayni, Yefikir, Zaaf, Lali and Pradaise. She added the inclusion of local designers is bound to increase competition with international brands and improve the quality of Ethiopian designers’ products.
Kunjina Tesfaye a member of African Mosaic’s fashion incubator expressed her excitement about the size of the store and the fair prices considering the international prominence of the brands on sale. She was happiest about the runway show. The fashion show featured both female and male models showcasing the clothes NHY currently has on stock. The models strutted across the large store in flowing dresses and skirts, short or beaded shorts, colorful muumuus and edgy jackets to the energetic music provided by DJ Hash. Anna Getachew and Sheldon Copeman organized the colorful and exciting fashion show. Yordanos, a member of the African Mosiac team was happy with the models that were part of the runway and raved about the makeup, lights and well organized fashion show. Many in attendance were happy to have authentic international brand products.
Wintana, a self-described fashion victim and her friend Seale, a project manager, stated their excitement about having a real shopping experience in a shop that carries items in different sizes and varieties. Shopping in Addis, they added, can be arduous due to lack of diversity in both style and size. Aster, a woman in her early 30s said she was happy with the service and the variety of items for suitable for work, casual daywear, and evening wear.
On the other hand, Melkamu, law professional in his 30s said he found the clothes intimidating and unusual but was certain there was an audience for it. His friend Abraham Gizaw, an event organizer was glad there was now a centralized store for all ages and genders. He believes importers in Addis need to focus on high quality fabrics for local shoppers. He also recommended that stores focus on local weather conditions when importing seasonal clothing.
The store will renew stock every two months and hopes to hold fashion shows to show case new arrivals. Meskerem added that NHY Brand Collection plans to branch out to Adama, Hawassa, Bahirdar and Mekelle as well as open exclusive Mango, Zara and Breshka franchise stores this year. They also plan on establish online shopping on their upcoming website.
Contributed by Hiwot Abebe