My name is Tsion Bahru Zewde. I am the founder and CEO of MISS.T.CAL Apparel design. I established MISS.T.CAL in January 2019 which has subsequently evolved as a special event organizer as well.
I like to describe myself as an apparel entrepreneur, a fashion designer, a creator of active customer experience, a business woman and a feminist activist, communicating my message through my designs.
I discovered my passion for fashion in my early teen years and started seriously considering it as my full time job because I could not find clothes (especially lingerie) to my taste in the regular market; I was always a fan of getting my clothes tailored instead of buying clothes off the rack. My final drive to establishing my own company came from the gap I saw in the Ethiopian modern wear market where almost all items are imported from Asian countries but are also of very low quality and a little too basic for my taste.
The Miss.T.Cal Process!
MISS.T.CAL is technically a two-streamed organization: the fashion design section and the event organization section. The two are complementary.
“MISS.T.CAL Apparel Design” focuses mainly on custom made fits. I usually start with a one on one consultation with the
customer. During this process, I make sketches as I listen to the customer’s preferences for the attire (backless, cleavage, short, long dress, slit, embroidery etc…); at other times, the customer is a sort of co- creator where she/he comes up with her/his own design/ idea and we bring it to life. If the sketch I present fits perfectly with what the customer has in mind, we move to making the patterns for cutting the fabric or we start draping the fabric, which then goes to the sewing process.
We do one last fitting with the customer and, if all goes well, the product is delivered; if not, adjustments are made before delivery. We also have ready-to-wear items; these are handmade crochet collections which include bikinis, monokinis, kimonos and crochet pieces (crop tops, miniskirts, shorts etc…) designed for our target audience.
Our other wing, “MISS.T.CAL events”, was developed for marketing purposes. This is where we create what we refer to as “MISS.T.CAL Experiences” for the customer and the general public. Fashion shows, live performances, musical and dance acts, art selection are put together in order to bring to life the MISS.T.CAL way of living: glamorous, chic, girly, sassy, powerful, daring and sexy!
The first challenge that comes to mind is the bureaucracy involved in establishing a business . It is tedious and time-consuming. Every Ethiopian starting a new business has to deal with it and I suppose one eventually gets used to it. As a creative designer, especially a fashion designer, finding good quality accessories such as buttons, zippers, sponge pads etc… can be quite a headache or in some cases even impossible; this in turn has an impact on the quality of the final product.
Made in Ethiopia
Times are changing and when a product has a “made in Ethiopia” stamp, it’s more accepted than several years back where people, for the most part, thought they were of low quality.
Also, finding good quality fabrics is not an issue in our market, which is a major plus for me. However, the suppliers may lack consistency on the type of fabrics they ship in: for instance, the same gold velvet fabric I once bought may not be available for another 6 months+ when the supplier is out of stock.
Hopes & Dreams
In the future, I would love it if the bureaucratic processes were digitized and simplified for all entrepreneurs/ business owners. I would also like to see the time when foreign investment will not be an issue and all suppliers would be consistent on products they bring.
Well… the relationship between art and consumerism is a very complex one. Although it is a very debatable topic, I believe that the moment “art” is showcased and sold, it immediately becomes a “product”, thus a part of the consumerist society. In my case, my art is my product; art is not an element which criticizes consumerism but rather embellishes it and gives consumers the opportunity to become exclusive. The fact that I have both an artsy side and a business side drove me to streamline the two rather than separate them.
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