Fashion Feature: Sancho’s Dress

Sanchos Dress 1

Photo credit: Sancho’s Dress

Sitting cosily on the slope of Fore Street, Sancho’s Dress is the African clothing shop lucky enough to be gearing up for its second launch party – and you’re invited! Pop by the shop on Saturday, January 31st for live music, good food, drink and company (not to mention the special offers you won’t want to miss out on).

Now, this is more than just your average clothing shop. Focusing on ecological living and fair-trade, Sancho’s Dress promotes a certain lifestyle. Their items – whether the stunning garments, beautiful home-products or alluring artwork – are made with organic materials. The clothes are all hand-made by seamsters and seamstresses in Ethiopia’s Shiro Meda, using traditional, wooden looms. In addition, Sancho’s Dress pay their tailors five percent above Ethiopia’s national average wage, so by buying from this business, you know you’re essentially helping a community flourish in as direct a way as possible.

Owned by Exeter university graduates Kalkidan Legesse and Vidmantas Markevicius, Sancho’s Dress is a space that’s warm and friendly, allowing visitors the freedom to explore African culture through exquisite colours, textures and tastes – specifically the taste of Ethiopian coffee, served the traditional way.

Showing their loyal dedication to transparent business, Kalkidan and Vidmantas are capable of something pretty amazing – they can pick up any garment in the shop and tell you which seamster or seamstress created it, and even the meaning behind the piece. They also offer styling of your outfits, making sure the piece you buy fits you perfectly, and is made to your personal taste. Browse their lovely fabrics, pick your favourite and revel in the glory of properly-sitting clothes.

Sancho’s Dress prioritises the support of those around them, whether the tailors in Ethiopia, their many volunteers or those simply wandering down the high street looking for a chat and something new to experience.

“A lot of people come in and leave a little bit of themselves in the shop,” Kalkidan says. “We’ve made friends who’ve given us hand-carved chairs, paintings, books, newspapers – people who’ve come in and told us their story. They add to the community we’re building, and everyone has their own input.”

The couple (whose first time meeting included the ‘Lord of the Rings’ soundtrack, followed by bike rides) have come a long way since their first sale last summer – a white cotton dress purchased by a lady for her wedding, in case you were wondering. Now the shop has moved from South Street to Fore Street, joining the ranks of thriving independent shops.

“The street is filled with people who are following their dreams and believe in fair trade, ethical fashion,” Kalkidan explained, “so it’s a pretty perfect place for us!”

Come to 126 Fore Street at the end of the month and meet the wonderful, like-minded community that Kalkidan and Vidmantas have formed. To find out more about Sancho’s Dress and browse their online shop, visit, or email For Razz readers they are also offering a 15% off when you spend more than £50 in store; simply print out the voucher below & show it to them.

Sancho'sDress - Voucher

Nickie Shobeiry

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