Business is booming.

I am hoping to see a well-developed fashion design that expresses our Eritrean values

He is Negasi Tesfatsion. He was born in Asmara, in 1971. He grew up in Asmara, Abashawl Area. Negasi studied his academic schools in Selam and Issac Teweldemedhin schools. He studied Fine Art in Asmara Hafeshawi, in the year 1999-2001. He also studied Drawing and Desing Engineering in Golden Gate Training Center, Glasgow College. Haddas Eritrean Profile conducted a brief interview with Negasi, and the excerpts follow.

What’s your current occupation?

I work in Golden gate private school as a fashion design teacher.

How did you start to engage in this profession?

I can say it’s from Asmara school of art. I studied fine arts in Asmara School of art from 1991 to 2001. In this time I took drawing, painting, sculpture, art design and so many more lessons.

What motivated or encouraged you to learn such courses?

Five of my aunts are painters and I was inspired by them. They influenced me very well, because I always thought of art as a manifestation of our minds creativity. Through combining lines with colors you create something. Over all I admire the beauty of nature, the colors of the sky, land scape, trees and even colors in a cloth. I believe all this things played a role in my decision to study art.

What happened then?

I started to work under Manitez: a non-governmental organization as a designer for three years. Afterward I worked as a coordinator and designer in the National Union of Eritrean Women.

Aside your Art education what contributions did you make?

There are indoor wall paints that express women at the NUEW’s office, in Barentu. I painted them to convoy a message about women’s role. Something else that I did was: I created a monument of one youth holding a gun in his hand and sculpture of one woman from Kunama ethnic group; I used bullets of an AK-47…I actually enjoyed it a lot. Last but not least I was successfully able to publish a book about designing along with my partner.

Can you tell us who was your partner and what was the book about in details?

My partners name is Onenimos Kiena. He is from the Kunama ethnic group. He was a weaving expert. We researched among the books from Kenyan, British as well as Italians universities; we prepared it as it can integrate with our culture. And it is being used as a reference book in NUEW.

How did you start to teach design?

It has been a long time since I started practicing design. In Glasgow College, UK, I studied for three years and graduated by drawing and design engineering. Then until now I am instructing in Golden Gate training center.

You recently graduated your students, how was their performance?

The performance of my students was great. They were both from inside and outside of the country. I had three students which came from United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Germany.

What is the definition of a designer to you?

From my point of view, a designer is someone who is able to create artistic works in a scientific way.

We are nowadays seeing the fashion designs are mostly superficial and usually taken from the western culture, what’s your opinion?

I don’t understand it either. Generally I can say it’s wrong. But in my opinion it’s best if we start to do an effort to create a fashion design that is related to our culture. Coping from magazines and simply creating a similar version of what was already created makes the real meaning of “fashion” becomes imperfect. Because any fashion design should reflect only the norms and culture of its respective society.

What courses did you teach?

The basic course that I teach is drawing and design. In drawing my students learn about human body posture; adult, young, man and women. My students have to be able to draw. As Design is about creativity I teach them precisely about color composition, style and sizes.

There is a rumor that all the fashion designers work only for their sake, and that they don’t care about the contestants whenever they display a show, what do you say about this?

Well, let me try to explain secluded from then. Some of them make them don’t care about then, they simply design with a small piece of garment, till they seem as they are almost naked. Most of the time, they make a bad design because they try to do it without taking a full advantage of our culture. And it would be better if they don’t see it in a business wise.

What are you planning to do in the coming ten years?

I hope to open a modern fashion industry in the near future, in the three –five years.

Thank you!


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