Providing sustainable work for communities, not charity
The Ethical Fashion Initiative is a programme organized by the International Trade Center (ITC), that acts as a bridge, by connecting marginalized artisan communities with global lifestyle brands.
Linking international brands with the Ethical Fashion Initiative network of artisans gives these communities in challenging and remote locations access to the international marketplace. This access to the market creates employment for artisans, and an opportunity to improve their lives.
From Burkina Faso to Haiti, Mali, Afghanistan and beyond, the Ethical Fashion Initiative engages artisans all over the world
The Ethical Fashion Initiative creates meaningful work, with fair and decent working conditions, employing traditional skills, such as Maasai beading in Kenya to hand weaving of raw Afghan silk.
The mission is to work towards sustainable development and create long term impact in the communities in which the artisans operate. Through extensive training and mentorship, the Ethical Fashion Initiative builds capacity and enable artisans to produce for the international market. Through this programme, workers are empowered and can lift themselves out of poverty.
In doing such, the Ethical Fashion Initiative bridles design as a vehicle for advancement. They likewise work with the rising age of style ability from Africa, providing them with mentorship to develop their brands and empowering the manufacturing of satisfying coordinated efforts with artisans in African.
Founder and Head of the Ethical Fashion Initiative is Simone Cipriani, a UN Officer appointed in Ethiopia to develop the local leather industry regionally, impressed by the skilled artisans at his visit in Korogocho Slum, Nairobi. He saw an opportunity; to connect artisans with the fashion industry for mutual benefit.
Simone Cipriani began the project in 2009. He developed a cooperative of micro-producers in the Korogocho slum with the guidance of visionary Gino Filippini; a lay missionary in the slums who inspired Cipriani to create jobs to do good. Gradually, the project has expanded to Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Haiti, Ethiopia, Nepal, Cambodia, and recently Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Cote d’Ivoire.
Today, through his work at the Ethical Fashion Initiative, Simone Cipriani has become a key spokesperson, at the forefront of the growing global movement for ethical supply chains in the fashion industry.
ITC EFI is the co-secretariat of The United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, formed in 2018. The overall purpose of the United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion is to change the path of fashion from social, economic and environmental concern to a driver for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.
At the EFI the belief is that the fashion industry has the potential to be a driver for development, and rather than trapping people in a cycle of poverty, can be used to lift communities and provide opportunities to workers to better their lives.
People first. Fair supply chain. Living wages. Dignified working conditions.
The code of conduct is extensive, defining fair and decent working conditions and payment of a living wage. This ensures that workers can lift themselves out of poverty through their work. Social workers are embedded in the communities in which artisans work, and closely monitor the implementation of these standards.
To verify the work and social impact, the Organization collects extensive data to carefully measure the impact of each order. This ensures that the work is positively impacting the lives of the artisans and that projects are working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Discover the strength and expansion of programmes in pages of Ethical Fashion Initiative. In addition to artisan works, food network of farmers in Afghanistan, Interior Design craftsmanship, and Fashion Design Mentorship programme, have all helped communities to develop their skills and battle unemployment.
The Design Mentorship programme has helped to put Africa on the global fashion map, through exhibiting African design at top industry events, and mentoring and guidance from industry experts. Working with international fashion scouts, we have brought designers from the continent to events such as Vogue Fashion Night Out, Pitti l’Uomo, and AltaRoma.
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