World Fair Trade Organization – Beyond Beautiful

Village Industry

The story behind the Ethiopian brand AFAR is a story about cooperation between the long experience of textile production which began in Italy over a century ago and a young group of workers in Ethiopia who noticed a type of production that was not dominated by technology but by passion and careful hand work.

AFAR bags are an expression of a heritage bringing together quality and authenticity. They are inspired by the nature, soul, and energy of the African Continent. The bags are sturdy to resist harsh environments, light enough to be good nomadic tools, and are all made of natural materials. Each of the natural raw materials used has a story in itself illustrating the commitment to sustainable design and provenance.


The leather comes from Zebu cows, the ancestor of all bovines still living out on the East African Highlands to help farmers engaged in traditional agriculture. Coming from these animals that live in a natural environment, the leather is of high density and strength, with a texture showing the marks of a long and active life. It is a true by-product giving to the farmer additional income at the end of the animal’s life. The almost wild animal texture is enhanced by the vegetable tanning and hand waxing process to make the leather last for a lifetime.


Most of the components such as buckles that are used to complete AFAR bags are made with horn, a natural and extremely strong material from the local Zebu cows. These amazing animals with their huge humps are able to withstand the harsh environment they live in without medicines or shelters.


Since metallic products that, even if nickel free, would have not complied with AFAR philosophy it was decided to sometimes use Titanium where horn cannot be used because of its unique characteristics. Hand-made in the workshop, Titanium buckles and rings are  lightweight and extremely strong therefore also in line with the AFAR philosophy of durability and sustainability.