The sustainable future of African fashion as African clothing is becoming more popular on a global scale, it is essential to understand the impacts that African textile and fabric manufacturing can have on the continent. Ethical manufacturing and sustainable sourcing are crucial to ensure that the foundations of the African textile industry are structured in a way that it can provide a solid income for its employees and that future generations can benefit from a rejuvenated economy.
Affordable sustainable fashion focuses on creating a structure of environmentally friendly and ethical manufacturing. It is kinder to the environment thanks to the zero-waste culture that it promotes. Rather than waste ending up in polluting landfills, everything is recycled or upcycled to ensure that the environment is not damaged. For future generations, building a solid African textile economy that can work sustainably ensures that there will be a solid income to support and nurture African cultures.
In 2020, the value of exporting textiles from Africa to the US alone was worth 21.65 million US dollars. With more than 450,000 working in the cotton production industry and a compound annual growth rate of 4 per cent, it is a fundamental industry for African workers. It is easy to see why it is essential to cultivate this crucial industry to ensure that African workers have a stable future and receive the right amount of monetary reward for their work. With the industry in constant development and growth, it is simultaneously essential to ensure that it is as sustainable as possible to promote positive environmental actions for those living in Africa and for people worldwide. While the impact on the environment and local economies is extremely important, there is equal importance for individual workers to receive fair pay. With a significant amount of African workers driving the industry forward, their wages must reflect the hard work that they put into the production process. Ensuring that wages are set at a fair rate helps to create these solid foundations for the sector that will allow it to continue to flourish.
Economic, social and environmental sustainability are three of the key areas that any consumer should look for when choosing their African clothing. Many brands are promoting projects that ensure local African communities are fully empowered at all stages of the manufacturing process, from harvesting the cotton to exporting it. Additionally, there are also initiatives to ensure that the African textile industry is fully focused on minimising the production of waste that could cause harm to the environment. This development is still a work in progress and as a consumer, you can contribute to the promotion of this form of ethical manufacturing by supporting brands like Sika'a where you can rest assured that your clothing is sustainable, has excellent longevity and has been created by an exceptional African designer.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) commenced trade on January 1st 2021. With liberalised tariffs within the area, export costs may reduce which could attract more diversity of investment and boost the continent's competitiveness on the world stage. Future generations will garner the true benefits of an established and stable industry that will continue to provide work and sustenance for local communities. With Africa's apparel market valued at 30 billion US dollars, there is substantial scope to continue to build the industry globally and ensure that both local African communities and worldwide consumers can benefit from significantly more sustainable and ethical fashion industry. While there are still some obstacles to overcome such as required improvements in infrastructure and the effects of cheap, unsustainable clothing produced on other continents, as more African and global consumers choose to purchase African fashion, the industry has the potential to thrive.
At Sika'a, we are committed to offering affordable African clothing that has been sustainably sourced. Our ethos is to promote sustainability and ensure that we maintain our standing as an affordable sustainable brand. We feel it is important to educate our consumers about the potential positive impact of the African fashion industry on its employees and future generations if consumers support sustainable sourcing and ethically manufactured clothing. The future for sustainable African fashion, fabrics and textiles looks extremely bright but brands and consumers must perform an active role in ensuring that the clothes they choose are ethical and help to sustain workers and local African communities. In this way, everyone can play their part in building a successful future for Africa's global fashion industry.
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