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

As two of the most important cotton producers on the African continent, Mali and Burkina Faso have an important textile tradition. In Burkina Faso, the Ethical Fashion Initiative works with workshops that produce danfani, the quintessential Burkinabé textile, and in Mali, the Ethical Fashion Initiative works in partnership with workshops producing dalifini (ngaga and saran) and that are specialised in natural dyeing – especially bogolan. As the production of these fabrics is labor intensive, this is a sector that leads to job creation. The Ethical Fashion Initiative promotes this unique know-how on the local and international market.

The Ethical Fashion Initiative also supports the development of technical capacities in the field through trainings and investments in equipment and material. EFI has notably encouraged weaving on wide looms, which allows the production of a 120 cm wide cloth – a far more attractive fabric to buyers on the international market. The Initiative has also implemented a quality control system to ensure the production of a high quality product. These technical investments have helped develop local and international interest for high quality Burkinabé and Malian textiles.

The Burkinabé and Malian craftmanship and know-how have a strong potential for development – not only in the textile sector but also in jewellery, design and food.

Since 2014, the European Union’s EDF 10 Cotton programme funds the project in Burkina Faso and Mali. In 2016, the Ethical Fashion Initiative received 10 million euros in funding from the European Union’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa for a four year project supporting job creation in Burkina Faso and Mali. To find out more view the press release.

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, Artisan.Fashion, after private investors invested in the Kenyan production facility. The Kenyan Artisan.Fashion 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, hair wigs, 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).

AFGHANISTAN

The Ethical Fashion Initiative works in Afghanistan to promote the production of two of the most prized materials in luxury fashion: silk and cashmere. For silk, the Initiative collaborates with a network of weavers and dyers in Kabul and Herat, as well as with the country’s only remaining workshop still processing silk from locally grown cocoons. Through technical support and business mentoring for our Afghan partners, the Ethical Fashion Initiative is enabling the production of new silk fabric for the international market. The intervention is also connecting local weavers and farmers, integrating the production of silk cocoons, saffron and dried fruits to jumpstart the artisanal economy in these rural communities.

The Initiative is also working in the Afghan cashmere sector, by introducing traditional producers to new, locally appropriate technologies to scale-up and add-value to their trade. For example, the Initiative is helping to establish an industrial cashmere spinning facility in Herat, which will further expand Afghanistan’s cashmere export potential.

The Ethical Fashion Initiative’s project in Afghanistan is funded by the EU.

Skills

Dyeing, spinning, weaving, processing silk cocoons, saffron, dried fruits & nuts.