Ethiopian goods including clothing and accessories wrapped in with our adventures in Africa.

Only the Essentials—100% Cotton

March 27, 2014

Nothing compares to the feeling of Ethiopian cotton as it is placed gently upon your skin.


You cannot walk into a store with hopes of buying anything nearly as comfortable and well crafted as the hand-woven dresses we found in Ethiopia.

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The fluffy white cotton that surrounds the plant’s seed is collected and woven into thread. As part of their daily routine.

There is nothing more pure than 100% Ethiopian cotton.


 Feel the weightlessness of the raw cotton as it touches your skin.

Sense the delicate breeze as the light and airy dress moves with the wind. Be rejuvenated by the warming sun as it reflects light off of the white fabric.

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Moving from one continent to the next, positive energy and love flow freely between you and this breathtaking collection.

Simplistic design and intricate patterns make these dresses unlike any other.When you wear a piece from the Ethiopian Collection, you are wearing more than a dress; you are wearing the traditions, the beliefs and the spirits of each individual whose work has kept this tradition alive in Ethiopia.


Take a walk barefoot through rows of trees and overgrown grasses. Go on an adventure with friend through the busy streets of an unknown city.

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Pack a suitcase of essentials, like a dress from FTWWL and spend a weekend full of joy and happiness, in the comfort of Ethiopian cotton.

Days in Lalibela

February 12, 2013

You cannot visit Ethiopia without going to Lalibela!

I must admit, when visiting Lalibela, (Ethiopia’s replica of Jerusalem) I felt like I was traveling back in time. The city is of biblical resemblance. Lalibela is the holiest place in Ethiopia. It consists of mainly Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Everywhere I went, patrons walked the streets, carrying brass and gold crosses. Every church in Lalibela has cross-shaped window upon its stone walls. I noticed both Jewish and Christian symbols in much of the jewelry I discovered too. The Star of David and the Holy Cross are often intertwined— to represent the Bible and the New Testament.

Every piece was breathtakingly intricate. I felt like royalty wearing such works of art. 

The necklaces are a mixture of crosses from the three most sacred cities: Axum, Lalibela and Gondor. I added the Star of David and a cross on one of the necklaces I purchased (pictured right). These pieces of jewelry from Lalibela can be found in the FTWWL store.


As I woke early one morning, I realized how being in Lalibela had brought complete peace and tranquility to my travels.

When King Lalibela built the city in the 12th century, he wanted to create a new Jerusalem, where people could be safe to live and worship. Being there, I felt exactly the same way—safe in my surroundings. There is something whimsical about the ancient feel of the city. Hundreds of years ago, monolithic stone-cut churches were excavated within the rocky mountainous terrain. They have become a hugely popular place for many to visit. Every day, more and more people from Ethiopia and around the world, are coming to admire, worship and participate in one of the many church services.

Each cross has a unique design.The Lalibela Cross has special processional importance within the church services.

The Sunday of my visit was St. Gabriel Day. We attend a special service at the Saint Gabriel Church. On my walk there, I was surrounds by hundreds of people dressed in white. They were singing to the beat of the drums coming from within the church. I was trying my best to take in everything I heard and saw. A feeling of astonishment and disbelief formed within me.

Even with so many people gathering at the church, everyone was able to get the priest’s blessing.

Within the stone foundations, I discovered the faith, spirituality and love of Lalibela and the people of Ethiopia.

I spent a lot of time thinking about the history of Lalibela and the importance it has to so many people, including myself. The the strong emotions I had at each holy site was incomparable to anything I have ever felt before. Religious rituals are the center of life in Lalibela. The St. George Church in Lalibela is the most glorified of all. It is one of the eleven monolithic rock-cut churches. I was very pleased to learn that all of the churches are protected  by UNESCO. They are considered World Heritage Sites which means by law they cannot be destroyed or damaged.

I cannot image anyone who would want to ruin such amazing architecture.

These churches are true works of art and the religious ceremonies were just as astonishing!

Arriving at the St.George service, I realized that I had not gotten there early enough!

The church was already very crowded. As it continued to fill, people began to gather outside. As long as they were close enough to hear the drums, listen to the priest and sing to the music, they were happy, and so was I. Looking over the massive crowd, I was still able to see the priest standing at the front of the church. He was dressed in a robe of many colors. Brightly decorated, he stood elegantly among a sea of white. He was positioned next to a large cross of Lalibela. It was the most beautiful cross I saw all day! I felt a strong, positive energy around me throughout the entire service.

Because of that day in Lalibela, my trip was truly un-forgettable.

Being in Lalibela, I felt like a part of something greater than myself. I was so happy to be in such an astonishing place.

For me, Lalibela was perfect—it completed my trip to Ethiopia.

I learned how to love the inner beauty of all people and how to recognize good energy and peaceful spirits in every place I go. It was a magical trip, to a place for the Queen of Saba herself, where woman can travel safely and be respected. With all its wonders, Lalibela is a city with distinctly biblical atmosphere, for which I will love and admire for the rest of time.

Straight from the Source: Ethiopian Weaving

February 6, 2013

Patience and precision in every stich.

The craftsmen of Ethiopia are known for using traditional methods to make cloth, which have been passed down from generations of weavers and embroiders.

From start to finish, there is nothing more natural and authentic than an Ethiopian shemma cloth made by hand.

The FTWWL Youtube Video captures the rhythms and repetition of weaving that brings this  extraordinary art form to life.

Stay tuned for more about Ethiopian weaving and embroidery by checking out the FTWWL Youtube and Vimeo channel.

You can find dresses made with the love and passion of Ethiopia’s most skilled weavers on the FTWWL Store.

Shop all the Ethiopian fashions at:

Ready, Set, RUN!

February 2, 2013

It is impossible to image the number

of people in Addis, Ababa during the

Great Ethiopian Run!

Everywhere, people danced, sang, ran, walked, marched and celebrated

Watch the runners in action! FTWWL captured all of the fun on video! Watch race day clips here

Everyone finished the race. Everyone was a winner!

You can join the fun by watching more video’s on the FTWWL Youtube Channel

A Good Cause and A Great Run – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

January 31, 2013

Traveling to Ethiopia was more than simply an adventure into East Africa—it was a journey of pure beauty, deep-rooted love and moments of complete happiness like I had never felt before.

Being in Ethiopia was more rewarding than imaginable and watching the Great Ethiopian Run in Addis, Ababa, was an experience I would not trade for the world.

Jiro took photos throughout the entire race. He captured the energy of everyone in Addis. The city was alive!

I met Ethiopia’s most admired athlete, Haile Gebreselassie. I was welcomed into his home for a post-marathon celebration, filled with dancing, music, food and fun! I realized how truly humbled and appreciative Haile is. My friend, Jiro Mochizzuko, is a professional photographer who has followed Haile’s career. His photographic biography of Haile’s journey  is called,

The Emperor of Long Distance.

Haile had the honor of seeing the book first and announcing its release at the press conference before the race!

Representing Ethiopia, as an Olympian and an advocate for seeing forth the success of his county, the entire city treated Haile like a real celebrity!

With every step, constant cheering and praise followed him.

With the dedication of fans and support of fellow runners, Haile will be hosting a marathon of his own in October of 2013 called the Haile Gebreselassie Run.


The yearly 10K, women’s 5k and children’s run bring people together from every inch of the city and all corners of the world. No matter what, runner finishes the race, with the encouraging words and helping hands of others participating carrying them to the end. Whether it be a professional runner like Haile, or a young child, the participants would not be able to be in the race without the expert planning and seamless execution of event’s coordinating organizations and the associations involved in organizing the people.

Because I’m a Girl was one of the many charities that runners supported. I had an especially moving experience as I watched over 3,500 participants in the Children’s Race.

During the race, it was as though Addis has a heartbeat of its own—with music blaring and people dancing throughout the streets, it was the boys and girls, ages 11 and younger, with painted faces, colorful tee-shirts and enormous smile that brought the city to life!

One cannot image the atmosphere of Addis, or the energy and emotions that come from seeing The Great Ethiopian Race first hand. One thing I can say for sure is, this experience has proven that love and hope are the most powerful tools for helping other.

The people of Ethiopia have a love that is like nothing I have ever seen before.

The Children’s Run

January 30, 2013

The day of the Children’s Race was filled with laughter, love and LOTS of energy!

Hundreds of children had painted faces, decorated t-shirts and smiles  from ear to ear.  The Great Ethiopian Run had participants of all ages excited to be supporting Because I’m a Girl.

Watch the first video of Ethiopia in FTWWL’s video diary for a glimpse of Children’s Run fun!


The Children’s Race

Watch more clips as they launch on the FTWWL Youtube Channel!

The Culture of the Craft – Ethiopian Handmade Goods

January 27, 2013

Morning after morning, I sipped on a cup of freshly roasted Ethiopian coffee. What a delightful and uplifting way to enjoy the early sun and plan out my day’s adventures. One of my many goals for this trip was to find makers of the Habesha Qemis or “coffee dress”. These special gowns are made by trained “shemane”, Ethiopian weavers.

Their techniques are ancient—passed down from generation to generation as a way to keep the tradition of spinning the cloth and embroidering the fabric alive.

There is great meaning in each dress and every detail of the Habesha Qemis has importance. I had to find the source of this extraordinary process and I was determined to locate where Ethiopian people were creating these amazing dresses!

Traveling the outskirts of Mount Entoto, I visited Entoto Beth ArtisansThis extraordinary organization was founded on the idea that: 

by treating woman affected by HIV/AIDS with dignity and respect and by providing them with fair opportunities to support their families, they will be empowered and  more able to contribute to their community.

I fell in love instantly as I watch the women at work. At Entoto Beth Artisans, they are trained to make jewelry from bullet casings and scarp metal discarded during military confrontation. They use natural resources like dark roasted coffee beans too. I felt extremely honored to see the craftsmanship and skill these women have for making jewelry. I could not leave without purchasing a pair of coffee bean earrings to share on From the World with Love.

They are lovely—just like the women who made them and the beautiful county which they came from.

I also met an amazing Canadian woman named Kathy. She has started her own hand-woven textile company. Making traditional Ethiopian silks and cottons, Kathy works with many local farmers and businesses to obtain the cotton and dyes she uses. All of her products are made on looms in her small workshop which has become the central space for many Ethiopian women to obtain jobs to support their families and the community. I was especially happy to hear that Kathy’s business, Sabahar Silks, is a part of the World Fair Trade Organization. A Visit to her workshop was the exact type of experience I was hoping to find while in Ethiopia!

Each item is hand-made with love, using tradition and ethics!

Most of the women I saw in the villages outside of the city, as well as in Addis were wearing shawls called netelas. I had the opportunity to meet with a few garment manufactures in different communities. One of the men I met does the embroidery work by hand! I have not seen a lot  of embroidery work that can compare to what he does. It is easy to tell when the fabric is hand-made and when it is done with a machine, and the same goes for embroidery work. I found a few really nice dresses made from hand-woven cotton. Because they are woven and stitched with such care, each one has a special feel and unique quality unlike any other.

The Shemma cloth is the fundemental part of every gown. The yarn is woven by hand on spinning looms that have been used for hundreds of years.

I can’t image the work that goes into each piece from start to finish. It takes two or three weeks to make enough cloth for one dress! Once the starch white cotton is complete, the embroidery can begin. Watching each stich sewn by hand, each pattern created by memory—the finished product was more wonderful than I ever expected. Many of the Habesha Qemises I was admiring would be worn for special occasions like church, marriage and traditional ceremonies. I couldn’t help imagine wearing one myself!

I met three beautiful young girls  from Norway, Marte, Oda and Judith.  They raised money for children in Ethiopia by fundraising through the  Knarvikmila 10km Marathon. They looked just as beautiful in the shemma cloth as the women living in Ethiopia!

Walking through the villages that surround Mount Entoto, I was amazed to see people doing embroidery work outside! This was like nothing you would find in any other busy city or industrialized area around the world. People were enjoying the view, the warm light and the beautiful weather, as they worked in peace throughout the day. From hand spinning the cloth, to weaving in colored threads, to adding the finishing touches of embroidery, I sat and watched as Habesha Qemises were made closer and closer to perfection.

I remembered they day before, when I watched people gathering in the streets and walking towards the churches for the St.Michael’s Day celebrations. I’m sure many of the dresses worn that day were made by the people I was watching in that very moment! Never the less, all of the women had a different embroidered pattern on their gowns to show the uniqueness of each dress.

The Habesha Qemis is like a work of art—the designs and colors change with from childhood to adult life to old age, resembling different stages of life and important moments. Along with the gowns, all of the women were decorated with bracelets and anklets. This made them look even more dazzling and beautiful, like the county of Ethiopia itself.

Marte, Oda and Judith were happy to wear the dresses I purchased and they fit perfectly!  We took photos at an old French train station in Lagar.

There was one place in Ethiopia that I felt passionate about experiencing. Mercato houses the biggest shopping area in Addis and the largest outdoor marketplace in the world!

As we entered The Grand Market, a strong pungent aroma of incense, spices and hot chili powder overwhelmed my senses.

I was thrilled to to see the fast-paced, busy market life of Ethiopian people first-hand. It was like an adrelinalin rush! Inside, one can buy anything from spices, to clothing, to meats and produce and everything in-between! My favorite food while in Ethiopia was the injera, which is a large pancake-shaped substance made from tef, a grain that is unique to Ethiopia and very nutritious. It is delicious! Before going to the market, I was given a traditional Ethiopian receipt to make a gravy dish that goes with the injra. While browsing through the hundreds of vendors and shops within, I bought chili powder and pea powder to prepare the dish and some extra to take back home with me!

Every meal I had in Ethiopia was prepared beautifully and the food was more and more delicious with each new dish I tried. I could not wait to make an Ethiopian meal of my own when I returned from my travels. There is something special about the way Ethiopians prepare food. Many of their meals include a spice called berbere. This is also one of the most important ingredients in their national dish, wot. If you like chili and peppers like me, then you would enjoy the meats with gravy and seasoning just as much as I did! We ate all of our meals by hand—the traditional Ethiopian way. Injra is used like a fork. You tear off a small piece to grab the meats and share large platters together.

I have never had so much fun, sitting with friends and talking over a meal of such savory flavors. What am amazing country of culture and craft!