With sweats season among us, not just any label will suffice without a backstory.
Áwet New York, which means “victory” in Eritrean, was founded by eponymous designer and former refugee Áwet Woldegebriel in 2020. The staple line aptly called “A Promise to New York” pays respect to New York City’s garment workforce, according to the designer, by paying livable wages and monitoring every aspect of production and manufacturing with constant dialogue “to ensure [workers] are in a safe environment,” he said.
Reflecting on the pandemic’s tragic uptick in canceled and delayed orders that fell bluntly on the shoulders of factory owners and garment workers, Woldegebriel added, “My proudest accomplishment is that when they were inundated with canceled orders, we made a promise that we would keep them afloat.”
Woldegebriel’s story is also one of great endurance and triumph. Before moving to the U.S., his family (his father’s tailor business inspired his entrepreneurial track) lived between two war-torn countries, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Rebuilding anew in the U.S., the New York-based label just launched at Saks Fifth Avenue. Its signature line of hoodies, hats and joggers range from $110 for the hat to $295 for hoodies. Save for the hat, which is made in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the goods are all manufactured in Manhattan’s Garment District. The collection is a blend of 50 percent regenerated polyester and 50 percent cotton.
The presentation of the collection was held Wednesday at Spring Place. Meredith Melling, Kerry Washington and Kenneth Cole were among the honorary host committee for the evening.
“I want to be a brand that everyone has access to, and I want to be where people are,” Woldegebriel said. “It was important to me whether in retail or direct-to-consumer…I want people to feel comfortable in our clothes and feel they have a brand that cares about them.”