With one of the largest livestock industries in Africa, Ethiopia is becoming increasingly known for its leather. Founder of footwear brand soleRebels since 2004, Bethlehem Alemu, is already ahead of the game creating a brand of leather and recycled material footwear that is now sold from Amazon to Urban Outfitters.
We're loving on soleRebels because:
- a) They are not afraid of a challenge: Sourcing 100% locally is hard, but it means Ethiopia can export higher value finished goods instead of low value commodity exports- and thus more money stays in Ethiopia *yay*.
- b) Africa needs jobs- brands like soleRebels are creating them! They're bringing jobs to a village where there were none before, and pay not only 4 times the legal minimum wage, but also provide 100% medical coverage for workers and their families which is almost unheard of in the textiles industry (Nike are you listening?!).
- c) Africa also needs market share: currently, it only accounts for 2% of global trade which is ridiculous when you consider the amount of resources and people it has! Increasing that share just by 1% in sub-Saharan Africa generates export revenues greater than the total amount of aid that Africa currently receives.
Some of their shoes may be a bit natural for some tastes- we love these pale purple mocassins and their sandals.
Available from their website and Amazon ($55-$95)