As the world becomes increasingly concerned about environmental issues, the fashion industry is finding itself under intense pressure to embrace sustainability and ethical modes of production. Fortunately for those looking to get their regular African fashion fix, there are a number of excellent brands out there offering sustainable garments by using organic cotton, recycling old fabrics and harnessing new production technologies that are much less environmentally damaging than their traditional counterparts. If you’re looking for the best new African designer(s) creating sustainable fashion that is both stylish and ethically sound, we’ve put together a list of some of the best below.
Studio 189 is a fashion lifestyle brand committed to producing gorgeous African and African-inspired fashion pieces. The team at Studio 189 are able to embrace sustainable and ethical fashion by using recycled and organic materials in their craft, much of which is grounded in traditional techniques such as hand-batiking, recycled glass beading, kente weaving, basket weaving, and indigo dyeing. This hand-batik shirt dress, for example, demonstrates both artisanal skill and a keen attention to style. It is a great sustainable piece to invest in as it can be worn as a comfortable dress in warm weather or be layered up if the temperature drops a little.
Ethical fashion certainly does not have to be dull or boring, as demonstrated by Mayamiko, a brand which prides itself on using organic cotton to produce its gorgeously-patterned and brightly-coloured fashion pieces. This jumpsuit or this dress, for instance, can be worn day or night to help you achieve a statement look. Remember when searching for statement pieces to double-check the environmental credentials of your chosen brand or women's collection. Mayamiko, for example, stresses that the farmers who pick this cotton are paid fairly so that they are able to pay for amenities such as healthcare and education. In terms of Mayamiko’s environmental credentials, the brand has committed itself to a number of pledges including: Zero waste: This ensures that all the fabric they purchase gets used up. Scrap pieces of fabric may be turned into anything from a headband to sanitary pads for young women in African communities. Locally-sourced materials: Mayamiko uses local fabrics in order to bring work opportunities to people in Lilongwe and to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint. Solar-powered production: The Mayamiko uses solar energy to run its workshop. Recycled packaging: All Mayamiko packaging is made from recycled or upcycled materials.
To complete your sustainable wardrobe, you will need to remember to invest in some cost knitwear to keep you warm during winter months. Fortunately, brands such as Maxhosa are here to provide you with some of Africa’s most sought-after knitwear.
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