Home Arts & Culture High end fashion executive urges Kenyan producers to embrace sustainability

High end fashion executive urges Kenyan producers to embrace sustainability

L-R: Fashion designer Connie Aluoch, ITC Programme Officer Vincent Oduor, ITC Head of Sustainable Fashion Initiative Simone Cipriani, Vice President of the Italian Leather Traders Association Riccardo Braccialini, Dr. Franscisca Odundo & Dr. Samuel Maina from the University of Nairobi, Vivienne Westood CEO Carlo D'Amario, Catherine Masitsa of Samantha Bridals, Syliva Tonui from Creative DNA - British Council and event convener Ogake Mosomi.

Kenyan fashion producers have been urged to adopt sustainable practices across the production, distribution and consumption value chain in order to enhance efficiency in the industry.

While addressing fashion entrepreneurs and design students at the University of Nairobi on Monday, Carlo D’Amario, Chief Executive Officer of the globally renowned Vivienne Westwood luxury fashion brand said “The luxury fashion market has shifted. The internet revolution has reshaped the business model with social media and e-commerce now playing a central role in enabling customers to access products. This means there is a need to change the representation of the products.”

Channel 1

D’Amario, who received the Ethical Business Award during the 2023 Monte Carlo Fashion Week, also encouraged the participants to “create smaller items that everyone can buy and participate in your brand, as opposed to building one big brand”.

The event, which was organised by the University of Nairobi in conjunction with the International Trade Centre (ITC), sought to address inequalities in the fashion industry by highlighting innovative approaches which promote sustainable and ethical business growth in the sector.

“The big problem is overproduction,” noted Simone Cipriani, Head of the Sustainable Fashion Initiative at the International Trade Centre. “A lot of fashion products end up in dump sites and incinerators which is very wasteful. We need to re-use more materials and products so that we generate less waste.”

In an effort to strengthen the capacity of Kenyan fashion producers looking to create sustainable fashion products for the international market, ITC also announced the establishment of a new training facility at Don Bosco Boys technical training centre in Nairobi.

Under the programme, selected fashion producers will receive training and be provided with access to machinery to enable standardisation of their products for the European, American and Asian markets. Successful trainees will then travel to Italy where they will have an opportunity to apply their newly acquired skills before coming back to Kenya.

“It is important to have some structure in the artisanal fashion sector so that quality standards are maintained even as we make the products more affordable for consumers,” added D’Amario.


Boniface Mwalii
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