don’t judge a book by it’s cover…


I felt like it was time to share stories and experiences with the world.


01 Jun 2016


Stylist and designer, Dina has a flair for all things East African. It’s clear to see in the way she works, that her heritage plays a huge part in her style. Getting inspiration from her travels, sketching and producing ideas back in her Dubai studio has become Dina’s way of life.


Dina Yassin believes in stories. As she shares stories of her childhood summers in Asmara, her grandmother’s love for flowers or her late father’s university days, the Eritrean designer lights up. And it’s the same love for storytelling that underpins her latest brand Efro & Co, a vintage-inspired, ethically-minded, community-building collection, all sourced or inspired by East Africa. ‘We take elements that meant something back in the day. Then we bring them back to life by telling a story,’ the designer and ‘efro-stylist’ explained during a field trip to Addis Ababa, where she picked up new pieces for her collection of wooden hair picks, as well as fabrics and a straw parasol from Mercato, the biggest open air market in Africa. ‘We are pre-colonial authenticity with a modern spirit.’


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‘Each piece is linked to my family somehow,’  Yassin says of her designs.  Whether it’s a particular wax print found on a  recent trip to Tanzania, or the old photo albums  of her late father, which form the basis of her  range of graphic t-shirts, Yassin obsessively  collects resources from East Africa, letting  them permeate throughout her work.  ‘Even our logo is the East African crowned  crane, inspired by my father’s nickname, “Harshoy.”’



Born in Khartoum, Yassin was raised in  Abu Dhabi and has lived in London, Virginia  and New York, but says her heart remains in  Africa. Her family has strong links to Addis  Ababa, too. ‘It’s where my parents met and  married. My grandparents have a home  and business here, and many of my uncles,  aunts and cousins are in Addis.’  The hair salons and patisseries of the  Piazza neighbourhood bring back particularly  nostalgic memories of her childhood trips to  the city. ‘My mother would bring us to Piazza to get our hair done and our shoes shined by the young boys in the street, followed by a treat of some pastries and fruit juice.’



The ‘Fiori’ floral print dress takes its name from the Tigrinya and Italian word for flowers, but is inspired by Yassin’s late grandmother, Siti Mariem Yassin. ‘She loved bright colours and traditional floral print,’ says the designer, who recreated an old dress of  her grandmother’s with added pockets and a slightly  shorter hemline. ‘If she was still around, Moshe  would totally be proud of me. She’d love the dress,  especially the pockets – she used to tuck everything  inside her petticoat, the traditional way.’