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Ethical Fashion Initiative Accelerator Programme Designers discuss being an Emerging Brand in the Global Fashion Market

“The thing is, Africa is a huge continent and there’s so many diverse cultures. Not only cultures but also artisanal crafts that haven’t even really been seen or tapped into yet. I think if we collaborate and also create networks within those spaces, we’re able to create this beautiful hybrid of artisanal craft together with modern design”, says designer Lukhanyo Mdingi.

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The Ethical Fashion Initiative’s Ethical Fashion Podcast aired the third episode, ‘New African Designers To Know’,  of its second series dedicated solely to African stories, on April 8th.

Hosts Simone Cipriani and Clare Press guide the conversation alongside two designers from the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s inaugural Accelerator Programme for African Designers, Jennifer Mulli of Kenyan brand Jiamini, and Lukhanyo Mdingi, founder of South African brand with the same name. Jiamini, known for its extravagant beaded handiwork, and Lukhanyo Mdingi, a locally-manufactured fashion brand globally recognized for its sophisticated collections, both form a part of a new wave of emerging designers that are promoting the future of slow fashion. 

 

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The discussion dives into the essentials required of small brands to take on the international market and what it means to go from ‘emerging’ to ‘global’. The conversation turns to ethical fashion topics such as ethical employment methods and the beauty of using traditional fashion techniques to implement them in the creative workplace, especially for women-owned, women-made Jiamini. Tapping further into the topic of sustainability, Lukhanyo Mdingi introduces the possibility of opportunities for reshoring garment production in South Africa, as well as creating a hybrid of both artisanal craft and modern design.

Simone Cipriani (Founder and Head of the Ethical Fashion Initiative (“EFI”) and Clare Press (Sustainable Journalist and Writer), return to host the second series of the Ethical Fashion podcast, first launched in June 2020 to champion the power of discussion and explore the issues driving the ethical fashion conversation. The new series focuses on African stories in light of the EFI’s work on “creating jobs and regenerating the social capital in some of the most challenging environments, which is something we started doing in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2018” says Cipriani. 

About the Ethical Fashion Initiative

EFI is a flagship program of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. For the Ethical Fashion Initiative, lifestyle choices impact livelihoods. EFI creates and strengthens social enterprises in emerging economies to connect discerning international brands in fashion, interiors, and fine foods with talented local designers, artisans, and micro-producers. Savvy investors, pro-poor champions, and mindful consumers find value in a virtuous circle that creates not just premium products, but also stable, dignified work, and creative and resilient women, men, and communities.

The EFI’s Identity Building and Business Sharing Initiative showcases creativity and talent in fashion and beyond, in an effort to strengthen the cultural sectors including art, photography, cinema, and music. Operational in seven dynamic new countries — Cote d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Mali, Uganda, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan — this chapter of EFI works in hand with leaders from the private sector to generate trade and more importantly, social capital.

Find out more HERE or on Instagram @ethicalfashion.

This EFI Identity Building and Business Sharing Initiative is funded by the EU.

 

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