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Amsale Aberra

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Information about Amsale Aberra

Profile image of Amsale Aberra

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Fashion Designer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Hamburger
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/1/1954
Birth Location:
Addis Ababa,

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Fashion Designer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Hamburger
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/1/1954
Birth Location:
Addis Ababa
See how Amsale Aberra is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Fashion designer Amsale Aberra was born on March 1, 1954 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her father, Aberra Moltot, was an Ethiopian diplomat and government minister; her mother, Tsadale Assamnew, a homemaker. In 1973, Aberra moved to Poultney, Vermont to study commercial art at Green Mountain College. She then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where she attended Boston State College (now known as the University of Massachusetts Boston) and received her B.A. degree in political science in 1981. She went on to earn her A.A. degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in 1982.

Upon graduation, Aberra was hired as a design assistant for Harve Benard, Ltd. Then, in 1985, when she was unable to find an elegant and understated gown for her own wedding, she founded the bridal gown company Amsale Aberra, Inc. As her business grew, and Amsale gowns began to sell in boutiques and upscale department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, she purchased two other wedding design lines, Christos and Kenneth Pool. In 1996, Aberra opened the Amsale flagship salon on New York’s Madison Avenue, and a year later, she launched the Amsale Evening Couture Collection. Aberra serves as co-founder, co-chief executive officer, and creative director of The Amsale Group, which includes the Amsale, Christos and Kenneth Pool labels.

Aberra’s wedding gowns have appeared in many films including Runaway Bride, Analyze This, American Wedding, 27 Dresses, When in Rome, and The Hangover, and on television shows such as Grey's Anatomy, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and The View. She has also dressed numerous celebrities, including Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Selma Blair, Salma Hayek, Katherine Heigl, Kristen Bell, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande and Hilaria Thomas.

Aberra is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and a trustee of the Fashion Institute of Technology. She has also served on the international advisory board of the Ethiopian Children's Fund, and was twice included on Ebony magazine's "Power 150" list of the 150 most influential African Americans.

Aberra and her husband, Neil Brown, live in Manhattan, New York City. They have one daughter, singer-songwriter Rachel Brown.

Amsale Aberra was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 17, 2014.

Aberra passed away on April 1, 2018.

See how Amsale Aberra is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Amsale Aberra's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Amsale Aberra lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Amsale Aberra describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Amsale Aberra talks about her relationship with her father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Amsale Aberra describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Amsale Aberra remembers her community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Amsale Aberra remembers the Menelik II School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Amsale Aberra talks about her early aspirations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Amsale Aberra remembers immigrating to the United States
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Amsale Aberra describes her experiences at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Amsale Aberra recalls the start of the Ethiopian Civil War
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Amsale Aberra talks about her mother's efforts to reunite her family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Amsale Aberra describes the Ethiopian refugee community in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Amsale Aberra remembers returning to Ethiopia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Amsale Aberra recalls her mother visiting for the first time in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Amsale Aberra remembers meeting her husband
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Amsale Aberra describes her decision to attend Boston State College in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Amsale Aberra talks about her early relationship with her husband
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Amsale Aberra recalls her early interest in clothing design
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Amsale Aberra remembers studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Amsale Aberra recalls her training at Harve Benard, Ltd.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Amsale Aberra describes the process of creating a sample garment
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Amsale Aberra recalls her promotion to design assistant at Harve Benard, Ltd.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Amsale Aberra recalls her husband's marriage proposal
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Amsale Aberra describes her wedding ceremony
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Amsale Aberra recalls her start as a bridal gown designer, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Amsale Aberra recalls her start as a bridal gown designer, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Amsale Aberra talks about her first bridal clients
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Amsale Aberra recalls receiving bridal gown orders from fashion editors
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Amsale Aberra recalls meeting Katharine Hepburn
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Amsale Aberra remembers the birth of her daughter
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Amsale Aberra talks about the operations of Amsale Aberra, Inc.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Amsale Aberra talks about her relationship with her clients
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Amsale Aberra remembers her exclusive contract with Kleinfeld Bridal
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Amsale Aberra recalls hiring Peter Schiffman
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Amsale Aberra describes her early fashion shows
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Amsale Aberra talks about the cost of custom fashion design
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Amsale Aberra describes Peter Schiffman's role at Amsale Aberra, Inc.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Amsale Aberra describes her bridal collections
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Amsale Aberra describes the growth of Amsale Aberra, Inc.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Amsale Aberra talks about her husband's decision to join Amsale Aberra, Inc.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Amsale Aberra describes her husband's role at Amsale Aberra, Inc.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Amsale Aberra remembers the design of the first Amsale Salon
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Amsale Aberra remembers designing a collection of eveningwear
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Amsale Aberra remembers designing dresses for film and television
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Amsale Aberra talks about designing her iconic wedding dress with a blue sash
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Amsale Aberra recalls the inspiration for the Kenneth Pool collection
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Amsale Aberra talks about the changes in the bridal industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Amsale Aberra describes the corporate structure of Amsale Aberra, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Amsale Aberra describes the office culture at Amsale Aberra, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Amsale Aberra talks about the acquisition of Christos
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Amsale Aberra recalls the sales growth of Amsale, Inc. in New York City
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Amsale Aberra recalls her appearance as a judge on 'Project Runway'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Amsale Aberra remembers appearing on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Amsale Aberra talks about her daughter
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Amsale Aberra recalls the impact of appearing on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Amsale Aberra remembers designing for the Lincoln Motor Company and 'Grey's Anatomy'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Amsale Aberra talks about her celebrity clientele
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Amsale Aberra recalls becoming a trustee of the Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Amsale Aberra remembers her mother's death
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Amsale Aberra describes her preparations for a ready to wear collection
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Amsale Aberra talks about the 'Amsale Girls' reality show
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Amsale Aberra remembers designing a wedding dress for Hilaria Thomas Baldwin
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Amsale Aberra reflects upon her career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Amsale Aberra talks about her support from the Ethiopian and African American communities
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Amsale Aberra shares her advice to aspiring designers
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Amsale Aberra describes her design process
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Amsale Aberra talks about her signature design elements
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Amsale Aberra reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Amsale Aberra shares a message to Ethiopian immigrants