Stella McCartney x ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative in Kenya


The Ethical Fashion Initiative ( E F I ) sounds very official and serious. After all, it is a flagship programme of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and World Trade Organization. It should be staffed with bland bureaucrats in brown suits, but nothing could be further from the truth: this is a chic fashion powerhouse.

E F I is working hard to get the luxury fashion industry to partner with marginalized artisans in Africa and Haiti, to help create employment and develop skills whilst adding ethical and eco-friendly kudos to luxury brands.

And don’t fret if your handbag isn’t made in France or Italy – E F I ensures production of quality fashion goods lives up to the high European standards high-end consumers are used to, but these products are created under ethical and fair conditions, giving a boost to marginalized artisans rather than highly paid European specialists.

To illustrate their work, E F I recently paired with vegan designer Stella McCartney to create beautiful handmade accessories with Kenyan artisans specialized in screen-printing and tailoring for her AW14 Made in Africa Collection. This made Stella McCartney an ideal match in joining forces with the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s mission of building a responsible fashion industry.

The new collection of Noemi totes bags features an oversized hound’s tooth pattern, a departure from the snake and feather prints of previous collections. Stella McCartney is renowned for its strong ethics and focus on sustainable values making the partnership with E F I a natural one.

The Stella McCartney and ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative partnership began in Kenya back in 2011 and ever since has seen the British label produce a variety of handmade accessories with Kenyan artisans. The collaboration has come a long way and for the 2014 A/W collection the brand renews its partnership with the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative.

The video below of the project shot while on our fashion travel diaries actually shows a Kenyan fashion production story of how Stella McCartney’s AW14 Made in Africa bags were made: in short, each item is made by human hands and the stories of each artisan are woven into every product.

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