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Young designers across Africa have been increasingly adapting to traditional methods of garment making and sourcing materials locally. This has seen a significant rise in a ‘fair and green’ fashion industry. For many years the fashion and retail industry in Africa was neglected in terms of how it impacted the environment. According to a UN report on industries that pollute the most globally, the fashion industry comes second, the first being the oil industry. Fast fashion brands have penetrated the African market and are looking to stay relevant.
In order for African brands and suppliers to succeed they have sustained and maintained environmentally friendly practices.Their carbon footprints are taken into consideration as they scale up on production. Sustainable Fashion has proven to have less impact on the environment and is regarded as ethical. This is due to less strain on the value chain and less disposability of items. Unlike with fast fashion brands which have caused lots of damage to the environment.
African workers are being empowered as materials are sourced on the continent, 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, bead work in say Kenya and South Africa have been revitalized.
Consumers are also looking to buy eco-friendly clothing as an effort to support local brands,as well as to be part of the common change. The positive turnaround has come with modern brands taking ‘’the bull by the horn’’ and investing in the Sustainable Fashion movement. Ethical fashion brands are changing the notion that ‘’Made in Africa’’ means exploitation or low wages. They are in turn preserving local techniques of pattern and fabric making.
Here are top 5 Eco-friendly African brands taking Africa and the world by storm:
Senagalese culture is the inspiration behind Sophie Zinga Zy’s clothing brand. She delves deep into her roots and merges her international experience by creating timeless pieces. She uses natural textiles such as cotton, silk and stones to develop her minimalist yet elegant collections.
Created by Laduma Ngoxolo in 2010, which honours his Xhosa heritage; Maxhosa has shown great success both in South Africa and internationally. He uses wool, beadwork and mohair to weave intricate knitwear pieces which tell deep and significant stories. This brand has shown great pride in being authentic and showcasing the way in which traditional attires are worn or made.
Using locally sourced fabrics in Malawi, this womenswear brand boasts an impressive repertoire of creating quality items which are carefully designed to be worn in all seasons. Their pieces are unique as they are handmade and they consider the carbon footprint as their textiles are found created on demand.
Known as one of Nigeria’s most popular luxury brands, it has been worn by celebrities such as Thandie Newton and Solange Knowles and has proven to be an international success. Using mostly the Ankara Fabric as her speciality; she has created beautifully structured garments.
This Ghanaian brand prides itself by empowering women and transforming their lives. They create sustainable jobs for Women in Ghana who help make the creative and stunning garments. Using bold and colourful textiles, Yevu’s items are simply striking.
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