At the age of twenty four, Saron Amanuel is already a seasoned professional in the fashion industry. Her passion has made her the young business woman she is now. What she sees in fashion is a reflection of tradition, cultures, habits, customs and day to day practices. A graduate of Business Management, our guest today is a fashion icon, a designer and makeup artist with a peculiar experience and devotion to the field. Her big viewpoints of fashion have made her name one that is mentioned often. ‘Sari Trends’ is a preferred line by several famed singers, actors and producers.
- How would you explain your artistry?
I don’t know how to specify it with few words because I never tried to, but what I do is an expression of my ideas and vision. I am not good with words. However, I feel comfortable expressing myself through fashion designing.
- How did it all start?
I loved making anything out of cloth that I would find at home. I made my dolls’ dresses on my own. I was so little for it but I did my best using a needle, line and yarn to patch up a piece of “cloth” for my dolls. My favorite hobby since my childhood all the way throughout adolescence was tagging after my family members to the tailor’s. As a child my jaws dropped at the sight of a tailor cutting and sawing pieces of fabrics. Most of the things I know from my childhood are things I don’t even remember. They are recollections of my family and they enjoy telling me about my passion as a child. My childhood hobby is still a hobby I cherish. Therefore, I can say that my love for fabric is the origin of everything. But I didn’t know how to channel my passion and turn it in to business until my mother suggested that I give life to my sketches.
- When was it?
It was after I came back from Sawa. I remember collecting my sketches after the 10th grade in high school. What I drew before was not scientifically just. After that, though, I started analyzing my sketches, the human figure and the appropriate fabric before thinking of amassing a piece of cloth. Yet I would normally just compile them and save for that ‘indefinite one day’ in which I saw my debut. After I came back from Sawa, my mother suggested that I start making the cloth and put them out for the public to see. Thanks to her encouragement that ‘indefinite one day’ I dreamt of for long happened earlier than expected.
- You mentioned Sawa, and Sawa is surely a place full of surprises. Was it any special for you?
It helped me realize that I was good with my hands. I joined the 26th round to Sawa in 2012. I remember that there were several kinds of competitions put in place for us to take part in. As you can imagine I joined one competition of fashion designing. I turned every piece of textile around me into a piece of cloth. I loved adding a touch to our uniforms. I used old uniforms and bed-sheets to add my own touch to whatever was the rag around me.
I even got my brigade a win. I felt confident to show my talent to my companions and I believe that was when I gathered the courage to finally come out of the room and exhibit what I can do.
- Was your debut as a fashion designer soon after Sawa?
My debut was in 2017. I put my very first collection on the run way. I held a fashion show in collaboration with a colleague, a fashion designer herself, my friend, Yon Fasil. We decided to put up a fashion show together to cut down our expenses. Fashion shows are demanding in terms of finance. So as novices joining hands, holding a single fashion show for the two of us was the safest way to do it.
- Can you tell us more about the fashion show?
We named it ‘Saron and Yon Fashion Show’ and it was held in August 2017. We had some sponsors but we were scared that it might fail. We were not sure if people were even going to show up as both of our names were unknown to the public. But unexpectedly it turned out to be a big hit; a surprisingly successful first appearance for the two of us. The tickets were completely sold out and both Yon and I would get shocked to hear people returning from the gate. Moreover, it had a big viewership when uploaded on YouTube. That same night we decided to put some of our clothes up for sale and the highest bid was more than fifteen thousand Nakfa! The cheapest cloth was sold at ten thousand.
That is a big sum for a newbie designer.
I know! It was beyond our expectations. We were so encouraged and I personally dared to assume that fashion show was my green light from the public to give fashion designing my very all and do more.
- Your second fashion show was as successful, wasn’t it?
It was in deed. And the second time I went solo. It wasn’t even a year yet since I had held my first solo fashion show. Again, I am grateful that people remembered me from the first fashion show and came to take part in the second one. As in the first one the public showed admiration and respect for my work. But the second one was special as it opened new doors and opportunities for me as a designer.
- What about makeup? You also are a professional makeup artist. We have seen your name on several occasions.
I do makeup to complete my designs. I do my models’ makeup on my own. I perfectly know what I want to see looking at a model with my piece on the runway. If people ask me to do their makeup I do it gladly. The first music video I officially participated in as a makeup artist and styling was Temesghen Hiphop’s latest music video. After that I worked in many other productions.
- Your name is prominent amongst singers too. Many singers have asked you to design their clothes either for shows or music videos.
Yes. As with the second fashion show I was lucky enough to be accepted as a capable designer. The second fashion show introduced me to producers and singers that want to include my line in their production. Roughly, I have contributed to more than ten music videos in less than one year. I have designed Nehmia’s look for her latest music video, ‘Hasawi’, produced by ‘Hidmona Nebarit’. I have joined Admas Production for their music video for Shewit’s latest single and LYE TV in the making of Lily’s single and much more.
- How do you feel when ‘Sari Trends’ is mentioned as a top choice?
I feel grateful, of course. My lines started getting incredible amount of attention after I started styling for video music productions. Sometimes my line is mentioned more than the song itself on social media and it makes me appreciative of every single person that I work with. I feel extremely thankful for everyone involved in the production of the music video. Please let me express my heartfelt gratitude to the singers, producers and video makers; thank you for trusting my line and thank you for giving me a chance to work with you and learn from you.
- What is that you aim for while making your clothes?
I want people to find themselves in my designs. I work hard to give people pieces that can help them manifest their deepest uniqueness and, last but not least, I want them to feel comfortable in doing so.
- How do you feel about it? Why is it that your designs are well recognized?
It was and still is a tough journey but persistence matters. The industry, especially here in Eritrea, has capable and talented designers. There is a lot of competition and there are brilliant ideas being nourished by designers. One thing that I think helped me grow professionally is the research-based approach. Before even getting my hands on a piece I conduct an all-embracing research. I study people’s tradition, their habits, what they like and what they don’t. For the reason that fashion is an all-rounded discipline it is rather despicable not to include all the scientific, cultural, historical and other factors that make fashion so special. Fashion is not only about runways. It is not all about the fabric and the technique behind it either. It is about people, their clothing palate and their identity. Fashion is a reflection of cultures and time.
- Thank you for your time and best of luck!