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Pinko Launches Ethiopia Initiative

Versions of its cotton totes are produced by women in Addis Ababa.

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INTO AFRICA: At a cocktail party at Milan’s Studio Giangaleazzo Visconti on Thursday night, Pinko unveiled six Ethiopian versions of its signature cotton Pinko Bag.

More than a hundred women in Addis Ababa, about 65 of whom were recruited and trained especially for the project, produced the eco-friendly, 100 percent cotton Pinko Bag for Ethiopia collection, and the results of their efforts are in the Italian brand’s stores now at 58 euros (about $76) per bag.

Marina Spadafora, the collection’s creative director, said she drew inspiration from colorful body-painting traditions in southern Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, and cited photographer Hans Silvester’s work as a resource. “I’ve been working on sustainable fashion for years,” she said, “and finally here was a chance to use Ethopian art.”

With Italian Vogue editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani as goodwill ambassador, Pinko’s latest initiative is a partnership with United Nations-supported Fashion 4 Development to promote economic growth in poverty-stricken regions.

Ethiopian supermodel and designer Liya Kebede said she was excited about the increased attention to her country’s art and fashion.