Amsale Aberra - Biography


Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Amsale Aberra, professionally known as Amsale (pronounced Ahm-sah’-leh) journeyed to the United States to study commercial art. Political upheaval in her native Ethiopia forced Amsale to stay in the United States and to support herself through her undergraduate years. As financial resources were limited, Amsale began to design and sew her own clothing. For the first time Amsale considered the possibility of a career in fashion design. Aberra says that she herself never expected to be a fashion designer, and especially not a couture wedding gown designer that would be famous.

After receiving her degree in Commercial Art from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Amsale left Boston and enrolled in New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

After completing her studies at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, Aberra began working for Harve Bernard as an assistant. After she worked there for two years she began her own bridal gown company. Her approach was to create stunning, simple gowns that would fit the modern woman. Her design philosophy is to take a "forever" modern approach to sophisticated deisgn. Her designs are seen as modern but still keep in mind traditional designs, such as her use of "illusion" necklines.

In 1985, while planning her wedding, Aberra scoured the stores to find a simple, refined wedding dress. She found little in the way of clean, sophisticated gowns, and discovered an untapped niche in the bridal market. Aberra placed an advertisement for custom-made gowns and started her business out of her New York City loft apartment.

On the website Huffington Post, Aberra has an Ask Amsale blog, where brides and brides-to-be can post questions for her, or express their love of her gowns. Aberra expresses her love of finding the perfect gown for any bride. This is solidified by the space on her main website where real brides can submit photos of themselves on their wedding day in one of her creations.

While her designs began as only wedding gowns, Aberra has expanded her line to include her regular Amsale line, Amsale Blue label (for more luxurious gowns), The Little White Dress, bridesmaid dresses, as well as cocktail dresses. Her gowns range in price from $3000 and $12000 in price. Additionally in 2003, Aberra created the Kenneth Pool label and began designing a line of dresses featuring dramatic ball gowns, luxurious fabrics and intricate beadwork. In 2005, Amsale acquired the 30 year old Christos company. With her Christos gowns, Aberra seeks to create a more romantic feeling dress – using French laces and silk organza. In 2006, she was the third bridal designer to open a store at Madison Ave. In 2012, Amsale was the winner of the The Legacy Award at Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit.

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