Projects and partnerships

UN’s Ethical Fashion Initiative

We are a proud member of the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a Public Private Partnership between a UN program (the International Trade Centre), social enterprises and industry partners. 

Artisan Fashion is EFI’s first enterprise in Africa. Together, we manage an international supply chain of social enterprises that coordinate African artisans in production for luxury brands worldwide.

In 2021, we entered a Public Private Partnership with the EFI and a collaboration with La Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana in the co-creation of an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Due Diligence System.

Artisan Fashion is the first producer in Africa to adopt this ESG Due Diligence System. By working with us, brands are welcomed into the EFI Public Private Partnership whereby they have the opportunity to better achieve their ESG goals and be a part of sustainable conversations for the future.

Simone Cipriani – Founder and Head of the Ethical Fashion Initiative, and Robin MacAndrew – Managing Director of Artisan Fashion, visiting the Babadogo slum of Nairobi, where our journey started, with the European Commissioner

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As part of our mission, we emphasise the potential and importance of capacity-building frameworks for trade opportunities on behalf of marginalised communities. Through the enhancement of artisanal creativity and production capacity, Artisan Fashion creates employment opportunities and economic development.

However, capacity building in and of itself doesn’t support communities in the long term. That is why, we link it with durable access to the international market to create the jobs to lift marginalised communities out of poverty.

Our network consists of xx communities and xx artisans, xx% of which are women, and – in 2022 alone – we onboarded xx new communities. Throught our constantly growing network of communities, we provide over 7,000 hours of training per year to offer education and life-long learning; support women and marginalised communities socio-strengthening; and push organisational growth and trade development.

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The onboarding process includes capacity building activities aimed not only at improving skills but also to empower community members.

We ensure our Code of Conduct is respected, that artisans are paid a fair wage and we provide training during the developments process, at the beginning and during production. 

We allocate our orders among different community to create more capacity, while at the same time generating social income. Our capacity building is long lasting because we create long term partnerships with communities and we continue to support them as they grow their skills, build schools for their children and build bigger workshops!

Accelerator mentorship

As part of the UN’s Ethical Fashion Initiative Designer Accelerator programme, we organise a full schedule of immersive workshops covering all aspects of production.

Our training is designed to guide the brands through the entire production journey as they build samples for their upcoming collections. The designers begin the training with the foundations: getting to know the style and anatomy of the product they are designing, creating a detailed specifications sheet, and how to effectively communicate the product idea.

In addition to site visits to cloth mills and tanneries, the workshop covers additional topics such as design with cost considerations, and courses on incorporating sustainable practices in production. 

The training wraps up with the designers completing their very own prototypes for upcoming collections.

Ohiri Fall-Winter 2022 collection realised by our skilled metalworkers 

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In 2022, we started a “Kenya-Italy” collaboration with PELFIM, Pelletteria Fiorentina Montecristo. The collaboration includes capacity building and support. 

Artisan Fashion is part of a Public Private Partnership with the UN’s Ethical Fashion Initiative