Where we Work - Ethical Fashion Initiative

WHERE WE WORK

The Ethical Fashion Initiative currently works with artisans from Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Mali and West Bank. The Ethical Fashion Initiative is working on consolidating its current network of artisans but hopes to expand to new areas soon, notably in Brazil, India, Mexico and Peru.

HAITI

With a history and culture influenced by different countries, Haiti boasts a vibrant artistic scene and a rich creative heritage. The Ethical Fashion Initiative spotted a responsible fashion development opportunity in the large communities of artisans presenting a wide array of traditional skills.
The Ethical Fashion Initiative works closely with Haitian craftspeople with the following skills: horn carving, fer découpé, papier-mâché, beadwork, paper beads and patchwork quilting. Based on this skillset, the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s fashion partners have primarily focused on producing jewellery and accessories in Haiti.
In Haiti, the Ethical Fashion Initiative team provides technical expertise and assistance in managing production and quality control as well as facilitating capacity building workshops.
Since 2015, USAID funds the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s work in Haiti.

Skills

Horn carving, fer découpé, papier-mâché, beadwork, paper beads and patchwork quilting.

GHANA

The Ethical Fashion Initiative’s goal in Ghana is to help young African designers build fashion brands within the formal economy. Growth will act as a catalyst for wider job creation, and will create a flow of work for traditional artisans as a new wave of designers strive to celebrate unique local skills. Job creation will relate to all areas of the fashion industry, from seamstresses to tailors and accountants.

The Ghanaian artisans the Ethical Fashion Initiative works with produce for African fashion designers and have the following skills: sewing, tailoring and pattern-cutting.

The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) funds the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s work in Ghana.

Skills

Sewing, tailoring and pattern-cutting.

BURKINA FASO & MALI

Burkina Faso and Mali possess a strong textile heritage, including hand-woven cotton fabric, bogolan fabric and indigo dyeing. In Burkina Faso, the Ethical Fashion Initiative works with women weavers that spin and dye yarn which they hand-weave into beautiful cotton fabric. The fabric of Burkina Faso usually has a striped or tartan design. In Mali, artisans with expert bogolan and indigo skills, create fabric following the design input of fashion houses.

The Ethical Fashion Initiative operates from regional hubs in Ouagadougou and Bobo, the capital of Burkina Faso. The hub coordinates production between artisan cooperatives and controls for quality before fabric is shipped to fashion houses.

The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) funded the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s work in Ghana from 2012 to 2015. Since 2014, the European Union’s EDF 10 Cotton programme funds the project in Burkina Faso and Mali.

Skills

Dyeing yarn, spinning yarn, hand-weaving, bogolan, basilan and indigo textile design techniques.

KENYA

The Ethical Fashion Initiative’s first ever project was the creation of a production hub in Nairobi. Kenya is the country where the programme gained momentum and where most of the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s partners work. The hub has now become a successful and thriving company, Ethical Fashion Artisans Ltd, after private investors invested in the Kenyan production facility. The Kenyan Ethical Fashion Artisans Ltd. is specialised in the artisanal manufacturing of ethical fashion accessories (bags, pouches, key rings, tassels, jewellery and shoes).

The Nairobi hub organizes production throughout Kenya, coordinating with various community groups in the country. Most artisans working with the Ethical Fashion Initiative in Kenya are women.

Kenyan artisans boast a wide array of skills: beading, sewing, tailoring, crocheting, embroidery, brass work, horn & bone.

Skills

Beading, sewing, stitching, crocheting, embroidery, brass work, horn & bone carving.

ETHIOPIA

Since 2014, the Ethical Fashion Initiative expanded its project in Ethiopia, to offer the opportunity to work with the highest quality leather available in Africa to its partners. The Ethical Fashion Initiative has partnered with HAFDE Tannery, which produces high quality leather goods according to environmental and fair labour standards. HAFDE produce luxury bags and shoes, privileging locally sourced and tanned cow, goat and sheep leather. The Ethical Fashion Initiative works with the charity, Centro San Giuseppe to integrate micro-artisans into the process.
Ethiopian artisans are skilled at bag-making and shoe-making.

Skills

Tanning, dyeing and finishing leather & constructing leather items (bag-making & shoe-making).

WEST BANK

Despite an image associated with conflict and poverty, West Bank has a rich and beautiful cultural heritage that has developed throughout its millennia-long history. Artisan skills have been passed through generations, producing a wide array of traditional handicrafts.
Since 2015, the Ethical Fashion Initiative has partnered with SEP Jordan which promotes and sustains Palestinian craftmanship. SEP Jordan’s work helps facilitate sustainable income-generation opportunities for Palestinian artisans living in refugee camps in Jordan.

Skills

Embroidery (cross-stitch, couching-stitch, etc.), patchwork, majdalawi weaving and carving.

CAMBODIA

Cambodia has a traditional hand-woven silk heritage, boasting artisans with a strong skillset. Cambodian silk artisans have the ability to produce a wide variety of silk fabrics using different techniques and types of silk.
The Ethical Fashion Initiative is expanding to work with locally produced silk made by Cambodian weaving communities. These groups are run by and employ mainly women artisans who are able to weave with different varieties of silk. The artisan weaving groups are responsible for the spinning and dyeing of the silk.

Skills

Dyeing & hand-weaving silk.