Exploring the roots with Keren
Perhaps it might seem strange that Eritrea out of all countries in Africa brings the influences to our first collection – Keren – but there couldn’t be a more natural reason for ‘Keren’ to mark the birth of our clothing line.
Historically intriguing, culturally compelling and scenically inspiring, Eritrea is not only one of the most dynamic countries in Africa, it is also the native home of one of our founders. Driven by equal portions of cultural curiosity and pride, it came naturally to us all to let Keren mark the first milestone of World Ambassadeurs and allow it inspire our first collection. So please join us in the journal and allow us to take you to Eritrea, and more specifically the city of Keren.
Eritrea wows visitors with its scenery, from the quintessentially Abyssinian landscapes – escarpments, plateaus and soaring peaks – to the deserted and desertified beaches of the Red Sea coast. Culturally, Eritrea is a melting pot. It might be a tiny country by African standards, but it hosts a kaleidoscopic range of ethnical groups. It also features a superb array of archaeological sites that tell volumes upon volumes of history, making Eritrea one of the most inspiring and relevant destinations in Africa.
About 90 kilometers northwest from the capital city Asmara is Keren located. Keren is the country's second-largest city and regional capital of the surrounding districts. Approximately 146,000 people belonging to various tribes and ethnic groups call the city home. The dominant tribes — Bilen and Tigre — represent over 80 percent of the city's population.
Keren saw it’s growth ignite after the establishment of the Eritrean Railway by the Italian colonial powers. It was an important stop before Asmara, from where the line would continue onto the coast at Massawa. Unfortunately, decades of warfare left the railway in disrepair and it has been largely dismantled. There are however plans to eventually restore the line.
After the Eritrean Independence 1991, Keren entered a transitional development stage. The government, hoping to improve the economic importance of the country's second-largest city, further developed its infrastructure and educational system.
Another newer but still iconic landmark in Keren is the new church of St. Anthony with its orange body tones and three crystal clear blue domes. The domes stand out like three stunning sapphires in front of the mountain tops, and add an intense flare to the skyline.
As part of the Anseba region, Keren also prides itself with religious diversity among its citizens. It is estimated that around 39% of the population in the region are Christians, and 61% Muslims, and you will therefore find both mosques and churches across the city.
We identify key historical colors as nude and orange, representing some of the towns historical buildings, including the churches and mosques.
Keren experiences a semi-arid desert climate, with the hottest period being March until June and the coolest from October to February. Precipitation is sparse throughout the year, except the rainy season that stretches from mid-June to mid-September. The rain is a very pleasant relief from the hot African sun.
The most obvious thing you will see upon entering Keren is its beautiful landscape. Rugged mountains dot the outskirts of the city and create a nice setting to explore the rest of what this city has to offer, such as century-old ruins, bustling markets and Italianate architecture.
The dominating colors of the landscape are quite similar to the historical palette, but also with the addition of green from the bushes, trees and surrounding mountains.
Location: 15° 47' 0" N / 38° 27' 0"
Color scheme: Nude / Green / Orange
Flavors: Berbere, injera, turmeric, beans