It was the 13th month of the Ethiopian calendar on the very last Saturday of the 2011 EC, and it was a rather dismal day outside. But early in the morning, shops began to open. Shiro Meda’s twisting streets resemble the vibrant Medina of Marrakech in certain aspects. During the holidays, Shiro Meda is frequently busy with women eager to purchase new Habesha kemis (dresses), having their measurements taken, choosing designs or trying on ready-made dresses, collecting orders, and discussing payments. Even though the stores were open and dry, fewer people were buying clothes this year than in previous years.
In Ethiopia and Eritrea, habesha garments are a sort of traditional attire that have been worn for centuries. It is handcrafted from cotton and is typically worn for festivals and special events. One of the best times to purchase Habesha dresses is during the weeks preceding the Ethiopian New Year. Additionally, Habesha clothing is offered on the international market. For instance, shoppers can order Habesha dresses from internet stores like Etsy. The busiest season for the sale of Habesha dresses is often Timket rather than Enkutatash (the Ethiopian New Year). Although there are now many Habesha dress businesses located all throughout Addis Abeba, Shiro Meda is still the place to go for Habesha gowns. Before being utilized to make a Habesha outfit, the Dewari first spun the cotton into yarn. The traditional attire is then made using it by a weaver, or shemane. Finally, the outfit is hand-stitched with the numerous bright designs known as Tibeb. Depending on the design, the employees’ discipline, and other variables, one Habesha outfit can be produced in 20–25 days. Customers appreciate that the traditional clothing is handmade and frequently constructed from premium materials. The material is cotton, and there are numerous types, such as saba, fetil, menen, and weldeyes.