The Ethical Fashion Initiative works in the luxury and lifestyle sectors and helps international companies source high-quality and ethically-produced artisanal goods from some of the developing world’s most difficult environments. This challenging work is made possible thanks to the ten years that the Ethical Fashion Initiative has invested in refining production systems that enable production with community groups of micro-entrepreneurs in target countries.

The Ethical Fashion Initiative is a programme of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation. The Initiative connects marginalized artisan communities and designers from the developing world with global brands. By producing for these brands, artisans and micro-entrepreneurs can improve their lives through ethical work that values their craft and heritage. Similarly, local designers and creatives are given support to develop their businesses and become agents of change in their respective communities. Thanks to the networks they establish with artisans and other businesses, they are able to grow their enterprises, create new jobs and, ultimately, build social capital.

This unique business and development model is centered on the private sector and allows the production of luxury and lifestyle goods in some of the world’s most challenging and remote locations.

Since its launch in Kenya in 2009, the Initiative has expanded into Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Ghana, Mali, Nepal, Vanuatu, and will soon begin additional operations in Uganda, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran.

Not Charity, Just Work.


The Ethical Fashion Initiative participates in events with the media, international trade organisations, social enterprises and top fashion universities across the globe. Through partnerships with designers and brands, the Ethical Fashion Initiative is also a regular participant in events during the international fashion week calendar.

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