Habesha kemis

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Ethiopian woman in Addis Ababa in a traditional habesha kemis.

The habesha kemis (ሐበሻ habesha, "Ethiopian" ቀሚስ kemis, dress) is the traditional attire of Habesha women.[1][2]

The ankle length dress is usually worn by Ethiopian and Eritrean women at formal events. But it comes in many forms nowadays. It is made of cotton fabric, and typically comes in white, grey or beige shades. Many women also wrap a shawl called a netela around the formal dress.

In North America and Europe, this dress is retailed at "Ethiopian markets" or "Eritrean markets." Many Eritrean markets source it from Ethiopia. And as it is not their tradition, if a non-Ethiopian wears this dress it is perceived by Ethiopians as a cultural appreciation.

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  1. ^ Travel & leisure Volume 36 2006 "A woman with her hair in tight braids and wearing habesha kemis — a white ankle-length dress with intricate embroidery — came around to each of us with a silver kettle of warm water and a silver basin for washing our hands."
  2. ^ Lisa L. Schoonover The Indigo Butterfly Page 114 2012 "The habasha kemis is a dress is made from traditionally using cotton and its generally grouped in the catogery of yahager lebse. Shiny threads called tilet are woven into the white fabric that creates an elegant effect. The hem of the dress is quite ornated by the tilet. “It takes about three weeks for them to make the dress. I had to special order it,” Sherine explains."

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