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With the Support and Partnership of the European Union

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Designer Accelerator 20/21

Lukhanyo Mdingi

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

“There’s a notion that feels quite visceral and honest when thinking about our label.  I believe coming from a small coastal town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa instilled a languid sensibility within me that you’ll find in our collections.

After graduating from Cape Peninsula University in 2015, it was our participation in the PITTI UOMO Immagine A/W17 Generation Africa in Florence that set the momentum for the labels trajectory.

We’ve found that the spirit of time has yielded us to create collections that have a certain steadiness to it. Season after season we’re constantly looking at the essentials and refining each style, creating a certain kind of desirability and elegance has become part of the practice of creating a timeless wardrobe.

Our intention is to collectively create a body of work that has a sense of soulfulness to it, work that is steady, solid and strong.”

COUTTS Collection 21/22

Fashion Show, Lukhanyo Mdingi

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Margaux Wong

BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI

“I am Margaux Rusita, a Guyanese/Burundian Sustainable Designer based in Burundi, East Africa. My company, Margaux Wong, is an Innovative Sustainable brand which practices the amazing transformation of rare cow horn and brass into luxurious, beautiful wearable ART. I have been passionately working as an ethically driven designer for more than 18 years and my designs are heavily influenced by my everyday experiences.

As Creative Director, I am constantly working with my team in an attempt to produce uniquely distinguished artisan jewellery using tedious traditional techniques. My PASSION to see my vision come to pass and the love I possess for sustainability has sparked the imagination and has inspired hundreds of young people whom I have been blessed to mentor over the last ten years in Burundi. I aspire to make a lasting impact across the globe, as I pursue my mission to connect people through ART, LOVE and PASSION.”

Glorious Collection

Fashion Show, Margaux Wong

Jiamini

NAIROBI, KENYA

“The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her;  by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes”.  

Each day I piece together strings of beads that tell not just my story, but that of the world I live in today.  Highly driven by passion and an intuitive eye for design I find ways to transform traditional pieces into contemporary jewellery, not just through design, but in telling a generational story inspired by the past, for the present, yet still relevant in the future. 

I’m continuously working to help communities rise above poverty through economic empowerment while promoting sustainable development solutions through design at Jiamini, a brand that artistically expresses the world of Creativity through its rich cultural heritage, influenced by traditional techniques and craftsmanship. I continue to artistically challenge myself, push boundaries in the creative process, using the past, present and future world as my backdrop for inspiration in the creation of my one of a kind wearable pieces.”

MWABILILIO 2021 Collection

Fashion Show, JIAMINI


Kenya Accelerator 2021

 

THE DESIGNERS

Following the success of the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s first Accelerator Programme throughout Africa, the Kenya Accelerator Programme launched in 2021 as an opportunity to spotlight the creative visionaries that set this country apart and accelerate growth of their brands through development and mentoring.

Launching the Kenya Accelerator Programme is the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s continuation of a fruitful Accelerator Programme, the Initiative’s first. The Programme is devised with the intention of supporting environmentally-aware Kenyan fashion brands – particularly those whose ethos double as a commitment to a sustainable future in fashion. 

Energy efficiency and sustainability are at the forefront of the Kenya Accelerator Programme as it sought Kenyan designers that used natural fibres, upcycled and/or recycled fabrics in their collections.

The three brands exclusively selected to participate in the Programme – Katush by Katungulu Mwenda, SUAVE, HAMAJI – are as distinctive as they are innovatively sustainable. The use of renewable resources and intricate designs featured in their collections are both thought-provoking and visually pleasing, serving as an exceptional introduction to the global fashion market. 

HAMAJI

KILIFI, KENYA

Hamaji, meaning “nomad” in coastal Swahili is an African designer collection created around preserving ancient textile traditions and nomadic craftsmanship whilst empowering local small-scale artisans in Africa.

Reigning from the East coast of Africa, Hamaji was born in Kenya in 2017 by designer Louise Sommerlatte.

Creating a narrative of sustainability and conscious consumerism their collections are made up of natural fibres, botanical dyes, hand craft, embroidery and up-cycled collected vintage textiles. Hamaji is inspired by East African charm and embodies a spirit of nomadic femininity in pastel hues, free flowing silhouettes and a delightful sense of elegance.

Discover more about HAMAJI here

KATUSH
by Katungulu Mwendwa

NAIROBI, KENYA

Katush by Katungulu Mwendwa is your go to “everyday superhero” leisure lifestyle brand created for the self aware, confident & compassionate individual. Designing timeless, transcendent casual and semi-formal wear that extends beyond any season, the brand experiments with modern techniques, innovative fabrics and traditional methods.

Born and raised in Nairobi Kenya, Katungulu is heavily influenced by her upbringing and surroundings. An active curiosity driven by the concept of identity paired with an early introduction into the artisanal crafts world by her late grandmother, has seen her working with community groups within the region to make contemporary interpretations of traditional aesthetics.

Discover more about Katush by Katungulu Mwendwa here.

SUAVE

NAIROBI, KENYA

Suave Kenya was founded by Mohamed Awale in 2013. Gikomba Market, the largest open air market in East Africa, sparked a unique idea for the Kenya designer. Over 100,000 tonnes of used clothing streams into Kenya every year, most of which would naturally end up in a landfill. Suave Kenya stems from the belief that used unwanted garments can be repurposed and given a new form. Rummaging through discarded denim, the largest amount of unwanted fabric, the source material for most of the bags was decided. A tiny operation with 2 staff members at its inception, Suave Kenya blossomed into a fully-fledged brand that works to end the continuous cycle of unwanted apparel in landfills. The bags produced by Suave Kenya are crafted with practicality in mind, and their biggest supporters are the new eco-conscious generation. 

Discover more about SUAVE here.

The Designer Accelerator in Kenya is supported by ACP

European Commission’s Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States- ACP is a business-friendly programme supporting value chains through inclusive policies, investment promotion and alliances. It is implemented under ITC’s Alliances for Action (A4A) a participatory partnership model that engages MSMEs in order to manage risk and facilitate networks that provide the required technical expertise, capacity building, and targets cyclical investment to address economic challenges.

The Ethical Fashion Initiative is a programme of the International Trade Centre,
a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation.

This website was created and is maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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