Kenya is certainly at the centre of the buzz around ethical fashion right now. In herpiece for the Telegraph in March, Tamsin Blanchard spoke of mainstream fashion designers’ exploits there around this trend: Suno, Jessica Ogden (for Asos Africa), Edun and most recently, Vivienne Westwood.
Launching the Ethical Fashion Africa were three designs of bags made out of environmentally sustainable materials such as cotton canvas, woven plastic bags, recycled brass produced by Westwood via Nairobi-based social enterprise Ethical Fashion Africa, which coordinate the work of community screen-printers, beaders, tailors, metal-workers and weavers. It is designed to support and empower with skills women living in two of Nairobi’s slum areas Kibera and Korogocho.
The bags were revealed during her Paris fashion show in September 2010 and sold out within days of arriving in store. The results of a second collaboration appeared on the Paris catwalk in March 2011.
Not only she employ over 7,000 Kenyans to handcraft her Ethical Fashion Africa collection, she also used some of them as models for her fall campaign!