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Interview with Eritrean Fashion Designer and Model, Marta Habtemariam

Eritrean fashion designer and model, Marta Habetemariam (Credit: Marta H.)



By Asmait Futsumbrhan

Marta Habetemariam is a lady fashionista inspiring youngsters to follow dreams and desires. She was born in 1993 in Asmara and graduated in Accounting at SMAP institution in 2013. She is one of the youngest and auspicious designers and models in the country who are making success in the fashion industry.

Inspirations to be a designer…….

Designing is something that has always been inside me. It evolved with me. From my childhood, I always wanted to be a designer and a model. I used to follow fashion shows and magazines, my passion gradually grew up since, because I used to re-design my clothes. Afterwards, in 8th grade, I and other students were able to achieve some awards as a result of some contests, and we were offered free courses on music, drama, fashion designing etc. I surely can tell that opportunity was one of the few that initiated my passion to put my dreams into reality. It really was a great motivation for me. Later on, when I joined high School, I took designing classes at Merhaba Designing School for a couple of years, which I would like to dub as page one of my career.

About fashion shows and modeling…

Fashion show is a way of introducing recent designs of clothes to people through models. But, not only new trends, but a country’s culture can be introduced to others through fashion shows since it has become one of world’s famous activities these days. As such, modeling being part of the fashion world, it has its own guidelines. Models should own a height of minimum 1.70 meters and good appearance. Fashion shows and models always go side by side.

Fashion shows in Eritrea…

Well, I would say it is only starting to get better. I mean, fashion shows started a long time ago in Eritrea. But I really don’t think it was at its best. In contrast, these days, there are a lot of designing schools and people are more into the field. As a result, competition is getting intense among designers. And of course, if there is competition, then comes perfection. I feel like it is going well and I am certain it is going to be more flourishing in the future if we all work hard.

How many Fashion shows so far….

Marta Habtemariam
I have presented eight fashion shows of my own designs, and numerous fashion shows that I was just modeling for. For insistence I have participated at Shenen Show in 2012, Ferida show in 2013. Then again in Anseba region for the Youth Festival in 2015, I presented a show. But the first work I have ever done was at SMAP for our graduation in 2012. it was something special. I designed the clothes for our graduation party, and it was a great opportunity for me to introduce myself and my work to people. Since then, I had fashion shows almost every holiday at different places.

 Model or Designer?

I am both; but I would like to refer myself as a Designer.

About acting...

I don’t force myself to be a good one, it’s just something I do when I have the opportunity and time. Though it is not much, I acted in three different movies and one more, yet to be released. I believe it is benefitting to explore other professions as well, I like it, but it requires massive dedication and time, which I would prefer to give to designing.

Any awards…..

In 2012, I obtained the title of “Miss SMAP” in May, the same year, I was the winner of ‘Designer and Model’. Later on, in 2013, there was designers’ National competition and I was one of the prize winners, in 2016, I won 2nd place at the youth festival in Sawa representing the southern region.

Can you tell us how the festival was?

Actually, it was a unique experience for me, because instead of representing my home region, I represented another one. But I did that purposely.

How so?

I believed it would be a great opportunity for me to meet new people and explore the culture in many depths. Generally, the festival showed the unity of the people and it was amazingly organized. Everyone enjoyed it, my self-included.

Why southern region?

 Like I said, I wanted to be part of other regions: their tradition, uses and costumes. It is something that I considered for a long time and when the chance came up I took it. Although I had the plans to represent Central region at “Miss Eyobel”, for different reasons, that programs couldn’t happen. After that, the Southern region administration asked me to represent them at the youth festival. I was really excited. In fact, I would like to thank them for the good hospitability and all the help they have given me to present a good show. 

What did you do exactly?

I had to prepare traditional and modern styles of Tigrigna and Saho ethic groups. I did the married woman’s traditional style for the Tigrigna ethnic group and unmarried girl’s way of dressing for Saho. Not only did I try to describe the clothing but I also worked to represent their daily traditions.

Traditional or modern?

Honestly, I use modern styles for personal styling. What differentiates my technique is the fact that I commonly use traditional fabrics even for modern couture. … I feel proud in introducing our culture with the world.

Outside of local market 

I have worked with different embassies and I think it is a great opportunity for me to meet different international companies or individuals.

My first experience of the sort was with South African embassy; they introduced me to a famous and talented South African designer Nadia Meer. She works for different international magazines. Together, we did a group fashion show along with other different Eritrean designers and we called it ‘EriSa’ fashion show. It was very successful!

Other than that, I have worked with the Embassy of Turky and I am modeling member of the Chinese embassy.

You travel a lot… 

Yes I do, because I look for inspiration in the traditions of Eritrean ethnic groups, hence, I have been almost to every part of the country except for Assab. But I will go there soon!

Which one was your favorite?

Seriously, I can’t even begin to describe. Just on my way back from Sawa, I have seen so many things in just a few hours. Basically, I have passed by almost all the regions. I love the climate and the nature that it holds. I have enjoyed travelling around Eritrea since a young age; I adore the mountains, the weather and the roads.

Future plans… 

 I want to work hard and present new trends. Also, I now have a website with very extensive purposes. The website is going to be a big assistance for me to advertise my products and online shopping for people who want to buy my products. Similarly, with the collaboration of Galaxy training center and NUEYS, I am going to give makeup classes in Dekemhare: and for my good luck, more than 35 students have already registered for classes and we are going to start on the 15th of this month. The classes will include beauty treatments, makeup application and skin in general.

Last words….

If you ever think you have potential for anything, if you want to be someone, don’t wait for another minute and start doing it now, only you know what you want and can do. So, I would like to remind young people that it’s up to you to achieve your dreams and goals. Just keep working hard and you can be what you dream to be. At the end I would like to thank my parents and family for all the support they extended. 


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Interview with Eritrean Fashion Designer and Model, Marta Habtemariam Reviewed by Admin on 6:32 AM Rating: 5

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