With fashion production contributing to 10% of carbons emitted by humans, several young designers across Africa have been increasingly adapting to traditional methods of garment making and sourcing materials locally. This has led to a significant rise in a 'fair and green' sustainable fashion industry. For several years, the fashion and retail industry in Africa failed to recognize the impacts of its operation on the environment. This article brings to limelight some eco-friendly African fashion brands taking the world by storm.
As detailed in a report commissioned by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the fashion industry was identified as being the second most polluting manufacturing industry, with the oil sector in pole position. In another report, “textile production, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, uses around 93 billion cubic metres of water annually, contributing significantly to water scarcity in some regions. And 85% of all textiles end in landfills.”
This changed the perspectives of fashion brands penetrating the African market. More recently, the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is now being taken into consideration by fashion industries as they scale up on production. In order for African brands and suppliers to stay eco-friendly, sustaining and maintaining environmentally friendly practices is inevitable.
In the global world today, sustainable fashion has proven to have less negative impact on the environment and is widely regarded as ethical. This is due to less strain on the value chain and less disposability of items; unlike what was obtainable in the past. And more importantly, there has been an increase in job opportunities with several African workers getting empowered, as materials are now sourced locally, giving room for an increase in job creation. The use of organic fabrics and old techniques of garment-making such as weaving textiles primarily found in Ghana and Nigeria, beadwork in Kenya and South Africa have since been revitalized.
Below are top 5 eco-friendly African brands taking Africa and the world by storm: