Ethical Footwear in Canada: How Our Brand Gives Back

Oliberté takes pride in helping the ethical footwear industry in Canada grow. Our goal is to give back to the country that gave our business a home. Continue reading

7 Canadian Travel Destinations that Inspired Our Boots

Canada’s natural landscapes played a big role in the creation of our boots. Each style is named after a real-life location you should add to your bucket list. Continue reading

Why Does Sustainable Fashion Cost More?

There are many costs associated with sustainable fashion that may not apply to fast fashion, or fashion that is mass-produced. Here’s a breakdown of the biggest costs for sustainable fashion. Continue reading

Domestic Manufacturing: Fashion’s Ethical Future in Canada

Domestic Manufacturing has played a major role in Canada’s change towards ethical fashion. In 2020, the apparel market was worth around $27.5 billion. Continue reading

Fast Fashion vs. Sustainable Fashion

Fast Fashion is mass-produced at a low cost. Sustainable fashion produces clothing through ethical and environmentally friendly means. Continue reading

Why would a mask have fiber glass in it?

Dear Friends, To start, Oliberte does NOT have any fiber glass in our masks.  It has been reported that some raw material suppliers for mask manufactures are supplementing fiber glass instead of polypropylene in the production of their non-woven spunbound and meltblown material.  Face masks, especially … Continue reading

The 6 Stages of Mask Wearing

Dear Friends, Many governments (federal, provincial/state, municipalities) around the globe are changing their mask requirements daily. For most countries, the stages of mask requirements seem to go like this: The Stages of Masks Wearing During COVID Stage 1: Mask are not required or … Continue reading

A 2020 Wrap up for Oliberte and COVID-19 Response. Locked down, but never locked out.

Dear Friends, The Lockdown. In March, due to COVID, our business was put into lockdown. That forced me to let go of some amazing people, while asking the rest of my team to work from home until we knew what … Continue reading

What does a medical mask even mean? ASTM, non-medical, surgical, I don’t get it.

Dear Friends, Quick Update 1. This week we crossed the 2 million mask mark made right here in Oakville, Ontario, Canada! 2. Today our second mask machine arrives. Over the next 10 days we will be installing the machinery, upgrading … Continue reading

Why not add another machine for the fun of it.

Dear Friends, We are into month 3 of our Made in Canada  mask production and we are now starting to move at a nice clip. Right here in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, we can make non-medical, Level 1,2,3 medical, 2-ply, 3-ply, 4-ply, blue, white, … Continue reading

You make it in Canada, Eh? You need to raise your prices? What!?!

Dear Friends, Six weeks ago was the last time I updated you and quite honestly it feels like today is the first day in a long time I have a few minutes to myself to reflect.  We are now fully … Continue reading

Heat Wave vs Masks: Heat Wave 1, Mask 0. To be continued.

Dear Friends, It has been a few weeks since I have emailed as things have continued to be a bit nuts here. Not bad nuts, not great nuts – simply crazy busy nuts. In my last email, I shared all … Continue reading

Oh, Peter Pan, can’t you make a mask already?

Dear Friends, I held off on emailing last week as we were busy tuning, testing, wiring, cleaning, testing, testing and testing our machinery.  Today we are now officially accepting orders for our non-medical Made in Canada masks! Our Canadian Medical Masks will launch … Continue reading

First Made in Canada Oliberte Masks come off the line.

Dear Friends, We continue to make great progress with our machinery in Canada.  The last week has been about testing and tinkering. Lots of points of frustration, but overall positive. We have made our first masks and as you can tell … Continue reading

Our Mask Machinery has arrived.

Dear Friends, This week our mask machinery arrived a few days earlier than planned! The early delivery meant I was left on my own to unload 10 tonnes of machinery in the blistering heat. A few curse words, three changes of clothes … Continue reading

KN95 Masks

So what’s with the KN95 Mask? I’m confused.

So, you are interested in buying or using the KN95.  But there is so much (mostly negative news) out there about it.  It is confusing. It is scary. Is it safe? My team and I continue to get emails, calls, and texts … Continue reading

The puzzling part of the KN95.

Dear Friends, Today, the Government of Canada announced that it is recommending that Canadians begin wearing non-medical masks in public. This is not a complete shock and I think most people would say this was inevitable.  It is not yet a requirement, but given most … Continue reading

What we believe sets Oliberte apart today.

Dear Friends, I’m beat. Can’t deny it. But knowing we still have more work to do means my team and I need to keep going to help you and those in need with our masks. That includes a variety of healthcare … Continue reading

We just delivered 10 Million Masks, but do we really need a mask and other questions.

Dear Friends, We have delivered almost 10 Million masks this month! As many communities begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions we continue to be busy placing orders and answering questions about masks in general and particularly the masks we carry. I … Continue reading

Oliberte Direct for Masks is Live

Dear Friends, I am really excited about today’s email.  If you have been following the last weeks, you have seen me express the highs and lows in bringing masks to those need. Here is a recap of the last weeks: … Continue reading

Taking the Next Step: Going to Make Masks in Canada

Dear Friends, As I start to accept the new normal (for now) both personally and as a business, so much continues to transpire. Here is the update from this past week: We have now shipped or placed orders for 8 … Continue reading

We have 7 Million masks to fill.

Dear Friends, When this crazy pivot started just 15 days ago, I had 3 goals: Help get masks to those in need AND fastFind a way to continue to support my own familySave Oliberte or what was left of it at this … Continue reading

Oliberte COVID-19 Response: 5

Dear Friends, Another week, another adventure of ups and downs. The end goal is still the same no matter – it is to get masks to those that need it asap! This week’s email is going to be a bit shorter as … Continue reading

Our Oliberté Pivot Begins…

Dear Friends, Last week I emailed you with what I and my Company, Oliberté, is going through.  Today, I want to give you the first update since that pivot. We have really moved into the eye of the storm, in … Continue reading

Tough Days Ahead?

Dear Friends, It’s 3:50AM as I write this. I’m sure your inbox has been filled these days with warnings or pledges about COVID-19, but this email is to give you a quick update into what’s going on at Oliberté and what we’re … Continue reading

Places we love to explore in Canada

Bay Of Fundy Breathtaking forest trails coupled with expansive beaches that yield to the worlds highest tides, the bay of Fundy is a dreamscape on the east coast. A hotspot for scenic camping and kayaking, the bay is home to … Continue reading

How It’s Made (In Canada)

First, the design for each boot is fine tuned and adapted to be broken out into panels for stenciling that can then be cut from the leather hides. These designs are then sent to our Canadian factory, where leather is … Continue reading

Vibram Soles

We chose Vibram soles specifically for their reputation as the worlds best. Since 1935 Vibram has been the choice of mountain climbers and adventurers who refuse to compromise on quality and craftsmanship. A sole that lasts a lifetime reduces our … Continue reading

Our Qiviut Toque

Warmer than wool, softer than cashmere. Our new Qiviut wool hats are handcrafted in Prince Edward Island from 100% Qiviut wool. Sourced from a company that’s owned and operated by Inuvialuit located in Leduc, Alberta: Our Qiviut hat is a … Continue reading

Hello Canada

Earlier this year, I shared some devastating news. After nearly a decade of working in Ethiopia, I was faced with the tough decision to close down our factory and let go of our 110 hardworking factory employees. As you can … Continue reading

Goodbye Ethiopia

It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing, due to a number of circumstances that we regretfully have to close our factories in Ethiopia.   In 2009 I had a vision to show that premium products can be … Continue reading

Socially Responsible Holiday Shopping

No matter who’s on your list, eco friendly, socially responsible and ethically conscious gifts are a choice that always gives back in a big way.

Ethical Back To School Guide

After a long Summer, it’s time to dust of the books and get back to business once more. We rounded up some amazing products to help you study in style, with the added bonus of each brand contributing to a … Continue reading

Fair Trade: Helping farmers cope with Climate Change

Climate change has been an issue of growing concern as communities around the world adapt to new challenges such as drought and temperature. Ethiopia is the birthplace of the coffee plant, and remains one of the top producers of humanities … Continue reading

Oliberte Introduces Our New Fair Trade Sandal Collection

We took a step in a new direction this year, to create our very first Fair Trade Sandal collection at our factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We’ve combined our ultra premium leathers and suedes with our natural rubber soles to … Continue reading

Fair Trade and #FashionRevolution

It’s been 5 years since the Rana Plaza disaster brought the issues of exploitative garment manufacturing into the limelight. Since then, organizations like Fashion Revolution have worked tirelessly to insert the idea “Who Made My Clothes” into the public conscious, … Continue reading

8 Must See Attractions in Addis Ababa

1. National Museum of Ethiopia This museum houses the treasures and curios of Ethiopia’s rich history. A great deal of the museum focuses on the remains of early hominids from the area, that would eventually become the modern human. It’s … Continue reading

7 African Travel Blogs To Help Plan Your Next Trip

Africa is such a vast and diverse continent, a traveler planning their next adventure could quickly become overwhelmed with options. Thankfully, there are those who came before us to help guide the way. We checked out 7 must-read blogs that … Continue reading

  Oliberté Holiday Gift Guide   With gift giving season in full swing, we wanted to lend a hand in choosing the perfect product for that special someone on your list. The Bookworm Slide into a pair of our new … Continue reading

Must-Listen Music from the African Continent

Whether it’s a Friday night dance party or a Sunday afternoon regeneration, here’s the perfect soundtrack from some of our favorite African artists. Shekhinah Fresh off releasing her first solo album “Rose Gold”, Durban-born singer Shekhinah is poised to make … Continue reading

Back To School Ethical Essentials

Make a real statement on campus this year with these must-have ethical fashion staples. A: Men’s Cotton Bomber  Everlane. Everlane is a direct-to-consumer fashion brand that’s focused on “radical transparency” in their production and supply lines. B: Columba Crew Finisterre. Finisterre is a brand … Continue reading

East Africa’s 10 Best National Parks

East Africa is home to an astonishing range of landscapes and biodiversity, ripe to explore for the adventurous at heart. Whether savannah, rainforest, mountains or valleys, each location offers a truly unique and exciting prospect for the curious mind. We … Continue reading

How It’s Made, Oliberté Edition

Despite being one of the oldest products available, the leather shoe is a surprisingly complicated process. Following all of these steps while staying true to our Fair Trade principles made things even more complex, so we wanted to show you … Continue reading

15 Of Our Favorite African Instagrams

We love Instagram for it’s ability to share experience and tell a story in an unprecedented way. Africa as a continent has a wealth of beauty and narrative that makes a perfect setting for an incredible documentation of the modern … Continue reading

How Fair Trade Helps Working Moms

    Fair Trade policies have been instrumental in enriching the lives of artisans and producers the world over, ensuring positive and sustainable growth. One of the most important groups to receive these benefits have been working mothers, who use … Continue reading

Mother’s Day: Gifts with Purpose

    Mother’s Day is on the horizon, and since many of us are still scrambling to find the perfect gift, we wanted to put in some legwork to help out! Here’s a small collection of products that go the … Continue reading

10 Animals Only Found In Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the most unique landscapes on Earth, with lush forests, snow-capped peaks and arid deserts. As a country with such varied habitats, Ethiopia is home to many species that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth, whose … Continue reading

Ethiopia’s Best Hiking Destinations

Ethiopia is truly unparalleled in its variety of awe inspiring landscapes that beg to be explored. From desert volcanoes and jagged peaks, to UNESCO World Heritage stone churches and lush waterfalls, there’s something for all skill levels and interests. With … Continue reading

Empower Women and Elevate the Community

International Women’s Day was created to recognize and celebrate the hardworking women we are so lucky to be surrounded by. We looked at how Fair Trade and ethical production can support these women, and how the community as a whole … Continue reading

2016 and the Growth of Fair Trade

It’s been so inspiring to see the progress that Fair Trade principles have made across the world this past year, both from the consumer and the corporation. Here’s a quick round-up of events that made us excited in 2016. Increased … Continue reading

2016, Our Year in Review

2016 has been a very exciting year for Oliberté. From the growth of what was planted to the blossoming of new projects, we’re excited to say this year has been one of our best, and we can’t wait for what’s … Continue reading

Ethical Gifts for Him

To build off our recent Ethical Gift Guide for Her, we picked some of our favorite gifts for him from companies we’re honored to stand with. United By Blue United By Blue started in 2010 with the mission to make … Continue reading

Ethical Gifts for Her

It’s that time of year again, and we at Oliberté wanted to make gift giving a little easier with a guide to some of our favorite brands.   Oliberté There’s nothing wrong with a little shameless self-promotion from time to … Continue reading

The Highlander 2016 Collection

Our ultra-premium Highlander collection is back by popular demand, with two new models and our exclusive all-black colorway. Inspiration One of the founding principles when we started Oliberté was the creation of high-end footwear that could be worn for life. We … Continue reading

How Fair Trade Benefits A Community

  October is Fair Trade month, and we wanted to highlight some of the positive benefits of Fair Trade principles to celebrate the continued advancement of this important movement. In its simplest form, Fair Trade benefits the millions of hardworking … Continue reading

A Bright Future, Ethiopia’s Educational Improvement

With students around the world returning to their studies this month, we took a look at this trend in Ethiopia, and the massive improvements made over the past few decades. It’s no secret that a well-rounded education is an essential … Continue reading

Labor Day, and What it Means to Us

As Labor day approaches to signal the end of Summer, we take a look at the history of this holiday and its origins. A welcome opportunity to get outside and adventure freely for a few days that was made possible … Continue reading

A Short Guide To Ethiopia’s Must-Sees

Our experience in Ethiopia has been one full of valuable lessons and incredibly discoveries. Such an old and storied culture is bound to have many exciting attractions that reward the determined traveler. We collected a small list of sites that … Continue reading

Addis Ababa – Land of Origins

We chose to set-up shop in Addis Ababa due to the tenacity and skill of its citizens, along with an abundance of high quality leathers and natural materials. We stayed due to the rich history of the city, and its … Continue reading

Oliberté Celebrates our Factory’s Fourth Anniversary

  Our Ethiopian team took some well-deserved time off last week to celebrate our factory’s 4th anniversary. Timing worked out perfectly for our staff, as they were able to share a huge communal meal and party the day before the … Continue reading

Ethiopia, A Country on the Rise

When we chose Ethiopia as the home of our factory, many people felt we were making a mistake based on their assumptions of business in that part of the world. We were told many times that other parts of the … Continue reading

Oliberté introduces a new Raffia bag line

From the outset, a huge part of our mission was to bring the work of skilled African artisans to a greater audience. Our latest project, the Raffia bag collection, is another step in the right direction. Africa is an amazing … Continue reading

How does Oliberté aid economic development?

Our commitment to Fair Trade is based off our desire to aid in the development of communities worldwide. This article details how that happens. Since our humble beginnings, Oliberté’s stated goal has been to participate in the growth of sustainable … Continue reading

Oliberté celebrates Earth Day 2016

On the 46th annual Earth Day celebration, we at Oliberté examine how we contribute to a healthier Earth, and how we can continue to improve. Today is an important day, as the world reminds itself that the planet that gives … Continue reading

Oliberté and Baobab Batik, partners in empowering working women in Africa.

The inspiring team behind Baobab Batik, Oliberté’s latest partner in promoting fair trade goods created in Africa. We’ve teamed up with Baobab Batik, a brilliant company out of Swaziland that focuses on empowering the local women it works with each … Continue reading

Oliberté teams up with the African Wildlife Foundation

Oliberté joins forces with the African Wildlife Foundation to aid in the ongoing efforts of the Simien Mountains Ranger Program.  Earlier this year, Oliberte and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) teamed up to make a special donation to the mountain … Continue reading

Oliberte staff ethiopia africa fair trade


Mekdes Abeje is a Senior Accountant at Oliberté Limited, Ethiopia Branch in Addis Ababa. She was born and grew up in Addis Ababa and is a graduate of the University of Addis Ababa. We sat down with Mekdes to find … Continue reading

Michael Lavergne; Author of “Fixing Fashion; Changing the way we make, market and buy our clothes” and Responsible Supply Chain Consultant.

Primarily Michael Lavergne is a responsible supply chain consultant but 20 years of global brand and retail experience has led him to fulfilling project roles dealing with child labour, transparency, sustainable manufacture and SME social enterprise mentoring. Michael has just … Continue reading

Where It’s Sourced: Oliberté Leather

Six lessons in sustainable leather manufacturing from Hussein Feyssa, manager at one of the world’s most progressive tanneries Walking around Hafde Tannery with Hussein Feyssa, marketing and technical manager at the family-run company founded in 1995, we saw engineers at … Continue reading

Where It’s Made: Oliberté Gear Edition

How Ethiopian bag designer and entrepreneur Dagnachew Abebe champions the art of African handcrafted leather goods manufacturing Dagnachew Abebe and his employees make every single Oliberté bag, wallet, and passport case, handcrafting them in a workspace on the outskirts of … Continue reading

Oliberté Factory at 1.5 years! Semi-Annual Report

Our workers formed a union.  Productivity is up by 30 percent. It’s been a good last 6 months. March, 2014 – Our factory has now been open for over one and a half years, and is stronger than ever. Since … Continue reading

Oliberté’s factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The world’s first Fair Trade Certified™ footwear manufacturing factory

We’ve been excited about this for months now, since our team’s first meetings in Ethiopia back in March. And we’re proud to finally be able to share that as of September 20, 2013, all the hard work our team put … Continue reading

Back To Our Roots: The Antique Brown Leather

RE-INTRODUCING, FOR A LIMITED TIME: ANTIQUE BROWN LEATHER + ADIBO AND MOGADO HI. Back in the end of 2009, Oliberté kicked off its journey with several sleek sneaker styles, including the men’s Rovia and Hanobi (pictured below), and the women’s … Continue reading

Amon of Analog Players Society: Behind the Fall 2013 Soundtrack “Coule’ba”

(Above pictured, left to right: Amon, Missia, Famaro) For our Fall 2013 lookbook video, we were excited to be able to pair our visuals with an outstanding track from Analog Players Society. The song is the instrumental version of “Coule’ba,” a … Continue reading

Oliberté Factory One Year Mark! The Semi-Annual Report

A little over a year ago, in early August 2012, we launched what had become a dream of our global team — an Oliberté factory to stand on its own. As much as we would like to say now that … Continue reading

Behind the Oliberté Ethiopia Uniform

Nothing is more unifying than, well, a uniform. We’re excited to share the new button-up factory coats our Ethiopian team is now offered to wear every day. These uniforms are important for several reasons – they were made locally, supporting … Continue reading

John Hook: Photographer, Oliberté Man, Dad Extraordinaire

This season, we were lucky to have this talented guy John Hook shoot our lookbook out in Hawaii, a connection made via a staffer who worked from there for almost a year. John comes with tons of experience and an … Continue reading

To all our partner factories in Addis Ababa: Ameseginalehu!

Ameseginalehu means “thank you” in Ethiopia’s working language, Amharic. Oliberté is really starting to grow, and while our future only continues to look bright, it’s always important to reflect and remember the people who got us here. We have had … Continue reading

The Scoop on Dan Landoni & His Awesome Oliberté Shoot

We love it when fans think of us for photo adventures, trips, or walks on the beach. So a couple weeks ago, when one such fan, Dan, contacted us to say that he was headed to the Appalachian mountains with … Continue reading

The African Story Behind the Oliberté Stitchdown

Everything has a story, even if it’s not being told. Every product you buy was sewn somewhere. It was designed by someone. It was inspected, packaged, shipped by hand. We’re extremely proud of the story behind our goods. The basics? … Continue reading

Factory Update, Six Months Later

Ethiopian General Manager Feraw and founder Tal outside of the Oliberté factory in December 2012. All photos by Ethiopian photographer Kinfe Sahlu Gulte, owner of Kinfe Film Production. February 1, 2013 – Since April 2012, our Ethiopian team has been … Continue reading

Looking for Collaborating Artisans

We’re excited to kick off recycling collaborations, and we need your help in starting. We’re looking for leather crafters and artists who want to join the venture. We want one-off collaborations to help promote their talent, support our African team, … Continue reading

Debuting: Oliberté’s Very Own Factory

BIG NEWS, F/W 2012: This August, we took a huge step.. We debuted our very own Oliberté shoe manufacturing factory in Ethiopia. Set up by our General Manager Feraw and his team, this factory gives Oliberté the chance to ensure the … Continue reading

What’s in a (Bag) Name?

Usually, we name each of our footwear styles for a place in Africa. However, for the debut of our Oliberté bags, we decided to do things a little differently. Each bag name, instead, is dedicated to a person who is integral to … Continue reading

Meet Feraw: General Manager of Oliberté Ethiopia

Feraw is one of the most important people with Oliberté – since the company’s start in 2009, the Oliberté Ethiopia Limited branch manager has found local sources for materials, developed products and patterns, and managing day to day events. He is … Continue reading

Behind the Oliberté Sole

One of Oliberté’s priorities is vertical integration, and this extends far beyond the leather and rubber used to make our shoes. As much as possible, we source our machines and molds in Africa as well. A prime example is our … Continue reading

Street Shots Around Addis Ababa

From Anna, May 2012 – While visiting the team in Ethiopia, I had the chance to shoot a couple of our SS12 shoes in the city where they’re made. Addis is a bustling, colorful place with a ton of beautiful folks … Continue reading

Why Leather?

It’s time for us to bone up and admit it: Oliberté is not vegan. OK, maybe you’ve already realized this. Leather is the main component of our kicks (and, soon, bags!), but it’s not only because leather is sexy, durable, and … Continue reading