What We Do

The Ethical Fashion Initiative acts as a bridge, connecting marginalised artisan communities in challenging and remote locationswith global lifestyle brands. 

Linking international brands with our network of artisans gives these communities in challenging and remote locations access to the international marketplace. This access to the market creates employment for artisans, and an opportunity to improve their lives.

From Burkina Faso to Haiti, Mali, Afghanistan and beyond, we engage artisans all over the world.

We create meaningful work, with fair and decent working conditions, employing traditional skills, from Maasai beading in Kenya to hand weaving of raw Afghan silk.

In addition, the EFI supports the development of African design talent. Our design mentorship programme showcases the creativity and talent of African Designers, as well as encouraging manufacturing with African artisans, and supporting the development of export capacities.

Our mission is to work towards sustainable development and create long term impact in the communities in which we operate. Through extensive training and mentorship, we build capacity and enable artisans to produce for the international market.

Through this programme, workers are empowered and can lift themselves out of poverty.

Where We Work

Sustainable Fashion

Goodbye to fast fashion and hello to a better way of producing, to a range of products and processes that have sustainability at their core.

In today’s fashion industry, the connection between the people who make clothes and the people who wear them has been lost. We want to reverse this and bring dignity to the lives of the people who make your clothes. 

We believe that the fashion industry has the power to be a force for positive change in the world, and creating social, economic and environmental impact is at the very heart of our mission.

ITC EFI is the co-secretariat of The United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, formed in 2018. 

The overall purpose of the United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion is to change the path of fashion from a social, economic and environmental concern to a driver for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Simone Cipriani

UN Officer, Founder and Head of the Ethical Fashion Initiative

“It’s a very serious business, fashion”

After gaining experience working internationally in the leather and footwear industry, Simone Cipriani relocated to Ethiopia with a UN agency to develop the local leather industry there.

The idea for the Ethical Fashion Initiative was born in Nairobi. Cipriani visited the Korogocho Slum, where he met the skilled artisans working there. He saw an opportunity; to connect artisans with the fashion industry for mutual benefit.  

Simone Cipriani began the project in 2009. He developed a cooperative of micro-producers in the Korogocho slum with the guidance of visionary Gino Filippini; a lay missionary in the slums who inspired Cipriani to create jobs to do good. 

Gradually, the project has expanded to Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Haiti, Ethiopia, Nepal, Cambodia, and recently Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Cote d’Ivoire .

Today, through his work at the Ethical Fashion Initiative, Simone Cipriani has become a key spokesperson at the forefront of the growing global movement for ethical supply chains in the fashion industry.

Listen to Simone Cipriani in conversation with Clare Press, Australian VOGUE’s Sustainability Editor.