Copilot Spotlight: Manalé Dagnew
Manalé Dagnew is the Creative Director and Founder of Manalé International, an Ethiopian accessories and apparel line with a mission to build schools for young girls in Ethiopia using the proceeds from sales. Manale is the first Ethiopian brand to create indigenous-inspired original and contemporary prints using natural fiber for its ready-to-go collection and accessory products. Our affordable African luxury brand combines the unique beauty of native art and decoration with sophisticated textiles.
Where was the first place you ever traveled?
Where is the last place you visited?
Where is next for you? Why?
India. We are manufacturing and creating our prints and knitwear for our new ready-to-wear collection!!
Why do you choose to travel?
I was born with my feet first, and my mother said “this girl is going to walk everywhere.” Since I have been able to travel, I have taken the opportunity to travel and work around the world.
How has travel helped to define your world view?
It has made me a global citizen. It has made me understand that we are all the same in the way we relate and work. Travelling has made me appreciate nature and life.
Where is the favorite place you’ve traveled and why?
Every place is my favorite place. Every place I have been to has given me two sides, color and black and white. I can’t pick one place on earth. Beauty is what holds me and there is beauty everywhere.
When on your travels have you felt the most out of your comfort zone?
Where people are not so kind. When I feel trapped and I am not able to communicate or move around.
Who is the most interesting person you have ever met while traveling and why?
It’s not who, there are so many people that have shared so many stories with me that make me feel like we are mirrors of each other. We are all mother nature. All the people I have shared with: food, wine, moments emotions and words.
What is the most adventurous food you have tried while on the road?
Sao Tomé in the Pacific Islands. They use many leaves as spices and this really blew me away.
Any funny anecdotes from the road?
I left West Africa to head to Milan in the evening and had a layover in Portugal for 5 hours and a layover in Cologne. My amazing iPhone did NOT catch the time difference and I ended up missing my flight to Milan because I stayed in the duty free in cologne for too long without noticing!
How has your life’s story influenced the way you travel?
My work is a main influencer on how I travel. Since we are a fashion brand, I constantly have to travel to Paris, Milan, India, Portugal, Ethiopia and many other places!
What is the most impactful travel experience you have had? How has it shaped you?
The first place I went to was Thailand, hence, it was the most impactful. Their courtesy, the people, the flowers, food and fruits! This put me on a different spiritual level. In terms of fashion, their own traditional clothing was also a great inspiration.
In what ways, as a society, can we change travel to be a force for good?
Since the beginning, people have been travelling. It can be used so we can highlight authentic stories that can be used for the greater good. If we travel, we can uncover the truth about different countries and be more connected and helpful to one another.