When the 'small and creative' team up with the 'big and experienced' we know that something productive is going to happen! This month the Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) are setting off for Kenya, with 25 designers + industry people in tow, to visit local artisans in their communities. The project is called Africa Inspires and aims to create new fair trade links between the global fashion industry and the skills and materials that can be found in Africa.
The EFF explain: "The rich culture and diverse traditions and skills of Africa have long been a source of inspiration for the international fashion industry. However it is rare that the communities from which this inspiration is derived have seen the benefits of the fashion trade. In response to this, the International Trade Centre has designed a programme of support for the fashion sector. This focuses upon linking designers and retailers/distributors in fashion markets with designers, producers (especially community projects or informal manufacturers) and businesses in Africa, to develop win-win supply chain models."A two day workshop will be held in Kenya, which will introduce the fashion industry representatives to, "A variety of both innovative and traditional products, pioneering designers, communities and groups, as well as individual crafts people." The Africa Inspires project is just the beginning of a long term programme which will, "Create opportunities for trade relationships with communities which could significantly improve living standards, increase access to market, and break cycles of poverty."
The Ethical Fashion Forum was set up three years ago, by several young creatives in London, to provide a support network for all the burgeoning ethical fashion talent appearing in the UK. The EFF's initiative and drive was noted by the International Trade Centre, which works as an agency within the UN and The World Trade Organisation, and this resulted in the EFF being invited to lead the Africa Inspires workshop in Kenya this year. :: Ethical Fashion Forum :: International Trade Centre