Through our Nairobi Hub, we bring together an array of artisan skills, from traditional Maasai beading to horn and bone carving. We employ community groups and women’s cooperatives throughout the continent.
We give our socially-conscious clients the opportunity to to design with African artisans and use their production to generate positive impact.
In Kenya, our home country, we work with 23 artisan communities engaging over 570 artisans, 88% of which are women. We provide over 1,000 hours of training each year and we have more than 3,200 beneficiaries.
Through our partnership with the UN’s Ethical Fashion Initiative, we are connected to over 98 artisan communities throughout East and West Africa and we collaborate with a further 2,000 artisans.
Bomizambo, Cote d’Ivoire
The rural areas between Kenya’s Tsavo East and West National Parks are plagued by low rainfall and see many harvests fail. Hadithi was established to create a network of basket weavers to improve the livelihoods and lives for the women living in the area.
Artisan Fashion has been working with Hadithi, since 2017. Hadithi means ‘a story’ in Swahili and the name was chosen because for every product sold, there is a unique story behind the people it was made by.
Weaving baskets is a tradition in Taita culture and, with Hadithi’s help, selling the vyondo (baskets) has become an important income-generating activity that empowers the women in these communities.
The ‘Taita Traditional’ range comprises of baskets entirely woven with naturally dyed sisal, grown on farms usually belonging to the basket weavers. The baskets are dyed with old techniques from flowers and bark making the baskets 100% natural and 100% handmade.
In recent years, we have combined with Hadithi to make baskets for the Australian brand Mimco.
Bega Kwa Bega
Artisan Fashion has been working with Bega Kwa Bega, a women’s group from Korogocho, a major slum in Nairobi, since 2009.
Bega Kwa Bega, Shoulder to Shoulder in Swahili, was started in 1992 under the auspices of the Catholic as a social program for single mothers. Back then, the women came together to discuss and share their problems and how to approach and resolve them.
Eventually, the group expanded and, in recent years, it has developed into fair trade enterprise with skills in weaving, screen printing and beading. But whilst the organisation values its autonomy, the women value theirsolidarity too: “We learn from each other. We have that spirit, so we can achieve our goal.”
Artisan Fashion has been working with Bega Kwa Bega since 2009. Over these years, we have engaged with the women to make beautiful bags, accessories and jewelry for many Vivienne Westwood, Adidas, Karen Walker, United Arrows, Chan Luu and many more!