Africa is home to some of the world’s most traditional skills and creative talent.
At Artisan Fashion, we have developed a network of these skills and materials from 134 artisan groups across the continent and we have been bringing these marginalised communities into the value chain of luxury fashion for over 12 years.
We work with designers to integrate artisanal and community skills and materials into product development and prototyping. From our 18,000ft2 factory in Nairobi, we combine these skills and materials with professional management and production capacity to consistently and successfully deliver collections for some of the most recognisable brands in the world.
Motivated by a desire to further our sustainable mission, we promote circular production practices for upcycled collections. We pioneered a circular operating model that redirects discarded stock back into the fashion economy reducing our brands’ partners environmental footprint whilst growing their social value.
Naomi, valuable member of our Product Development team
Our Export Processing Zone (EPZ) status allows us to combine the continent’s skills and materials with internationally imported options as well. Some of our clients ask us to use hardware and trims from specific suppliers. Others ask us to incorporate their end-of-line stock. Our EPZ status enables us to do all of this without paying duties.
We offer a range of services to accompany our production. Often, the designs will require us to train and build the capacities of our network. A process we gladly undertake and skills that create value for our network beyond our production commitments.
Africa is a beautiful place full of beautiful people. It is only natural that our clients want to see and show their work on our continent. We work with the brands to communicate the stories through content creation with videos, films, and pictures.
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
We emphasise the potential and importance of capacity-building frameworks for trade opportunities on behalf of marginalised communities.
Smily faces at Shalom Pride Weaving Group in Machakos country, Kenya
We believe in total transparency: that’s why with every order, we assess each stage of the manufacturing process to track the impact on all parties involved. To verify our work and our social and environmental impact, we collect extensive data to carefully measure the impact.
All data is summarised into an Impact Assessment report that communicates impact outputs in terms of ESG. Specifically, it reports on:
1) systems in place to manage energy and water, and chemical handling, reducing or preventing the associated environmental risk
2) tracing of materials and suppliers
3) systems in place to record human capital metrics such as regular contracts, inclusion of women and youth, training and development, hours of work and compensation
The reports are verified by the International Trade Centre’s EFI before being shared with international partners.
Skilled hands at work at Oldanyati Women Group in Kiserian, Nairobi
Our socially-conscious clients enjoy designing with artisans and are proud of the positive social and environmental impacts their businesses are generating.
We aim to contribute to poverty reduction by supporting the creation of sustainable and decently-paid jobs for artisans from disadvantaged communities in Africa. Our work directly contributes to SDG #1, #5, #8, and #12 and also supports goals; #10, #13, and #17.
We provide artisans with market access, as well as training, which enables them to be included in the value chain of major international fashion and lifestyle brands. By supporting women and marginalised community socio-economic strengthening, we promote organisational growth and trade development.
Lastly, we sponsor climate change resilience and adaptation whilst having a domestic supply chain and preferring upcycled and recycled materials. We reduce waste in our production process by using recycled (and upcycled) materials, repurposed fabric scraps, and other salvaged textiles across our product lines.
We guarantee that Fair Labour and environmentally friendly practices are implemented in their value chains through the EFI Code of Conduct.