Dubai-based Ethiopian designer Feiruza Mudessir is disrupting the Middle Eastern fashion scene with her brand Finchitua. With her latest collection titled ‘Avant- Modest’, Feiruza is putting a twist on traditional modest wear–– designed for women who value modesty and individuality.
Born in Ethiopia, Feiruza moved to India at thirteen to attend high school. This was followed soon after by a move to the UAE, where she decided to study fashion whilst working full-time. With her career stemming from lifelong passion, she has been working for over ten years creating edgy and modern streetwear with origins in a tribal Ethiopia. “Each and every FInchitua design blends traditional handwoven Ethiopian fabric, made by artisans in the villages of Ethiopia, with modern fabrics which create a fresh, stylish and contemporary look.”
There is a deep connection between Feiruza and her work; it’s essential to create authentic designs. “I design for myself first. In fact, Afro Retro is essentially my personal style played out in a collection.” The brand using traditional Ethiopian tribal fabrics ties the designs deeply to her roots, with the brand, as well, being named after her. “‘Finchitua’ means ‘the girl with the gap in her teeth’ in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia.”
Her biggest inspiration is her background, her day to day life and the places she visits. “I find inspiration in everything around me. My mum has also been a big influence on me. She is a stylish woman who embellishes a simple dress and makes it look a million dollars.”
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
It's hard for an up and coming designer to find a platform to showcase. Getting exposure whether it be in magazines, stores or on social media is all about your connections. Networking is a skill I’ve had to learn to overcome this. As a designer, what I’m less skilled at is business and financial management, which in this age, go hand in hand. Learning the business of fashion has been challenging as it doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve become more adept at business with experience.
Feiruza wants Finchitua to positively impact the fashion industry in the way that it is worn and produced. Her pieces are designed to last, as she is against fast fashion and values quality. Finchitua also uses sustainable materials and manufactures ethically. “The handwoven Habesha I use in my designs is created by real artisans in rural Ethiopia. This production puts money back into low income communities and makes a real difference to those people and their families.” (Cont'd.)
As an independent artist, Feiruza is motivated by two things: confidence in her work, and goal setting. “I believe my designs are getting better and better which drives on with each new collection,” adding “I respond best when I have a clear path. Each quarter I set goals for what I want to achieve over the next 13 weeks. Short term goal setting keeps me focused and on track.”
Do you have any advice for up-and-comers?
Keep your designs original. Easier said than done, but so important if you want to stand out from the crowd. To do that you must know exactly what you stand for and how you will convey that through your brand’s message. Make mistakes. You will not get it right first time and that’s OK. Keep moving forward and treat each mistake as an opportunity to learn and improve. It’s a long game. Learn the business side of fashion. To be able to design and produce you need to understand the basics of business. Read and take online courses to understand the fundamentals.