Danawit Alema, founder and creative director of DANN, is a fashion designer who articulates a story through her designs. She was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her childhood was full of vibrant activities and inspirations, as she explained it to be “full of inspiration and fun.” She watched fashion programs and experimented with certain looks on her dolls. After finishing her high school years, she realized that she wanted to be a fashion designer. She joined a fashion design program aside from her regular university classes at Addis Ababa University. She is currently studying Marketing Management at Addis Ababa University and will graduate this year.
Danawit is inspired by things she observes or experiences in her life. She said, “my inspiration comes from different stories and life experiences.” Danawit loves to tell a story through her designs, so she is inspired to observe and retain stories in her life and people’s lives. She founded DANN, a streetwear brand that inspires young age groups by telling stories and relating to what is happening in their lives. For instance, “Beauty in the process” is a collection inspired by what young people go through to make their dreams a reality. “Dream in a box” is a collection inspired by a shoe shiner and his journey. The story was represented by a design that uses “J’mat” (A material used to repair shoes).
Young people have a hard time exploring life in general and discovering their passions, skills, and careers. Danawit said, “knowing myself as a fashion designer is a success.” Knowing what you want at a young age gives you the power to structure your life the way you want to live. African Mosaique showcased Danawit’s first collection after a year of the incubation program. Recently, she released a collection named “Dream in a box,” which was showcased at the hub of Africa in 2022. Danawit aims to change the Ethiopian fashion industry by working with other fashion designers. Her dream is to be an international brand and an inspiration for others. Danawit, you’ve already inspired many, and we hope to see more exquisite designs shortly!