|An Amsale wedding dress|
Amsale (Ahm-sah'-leh) Aberra grew up in Ethiopia and came to the U.S. in 1973 as an international student. A revolution broke out in her country just a few months after she left. Her father, a diplomat, was thrown in prison. Going home did not seem a good option. Amsale stayed in the States to study commercial art and support herself by working odd jobs, starting with a gig as a waitress in a hamburger joint. She was interested in fashion but had no idea she could make a living at it. Nobody in Ethiopia did that! But she did have a Singer sewing machine...
"I would design and sew my own clothes because I couldn't afford to buy new things," she says. She was good at it. By the mid-1980s Amsale had attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and landed a job as assistant designer for a a sportswear company.
Turned out there was. The custom-wedding-dress company she operated from her Manhattan loft turned into a $20-million business favored by celebrities and high-end department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstorm's.
|"Dahlia" retails for $7400; a used one |
can still set you back a few thousand.
The dress I bought? I think it must have been from one of her much earlier collections. I haven't been able to find any pictures of it online.
Don't you just love a good story about an immigrant whose dreams came true?
|More Amsale gowns|