“A garment that is born out of exploitation is tainted”: This is how the Ethical Fashion Initiative works, a platform that unites artisans and brands. fashion

In 2006, during one of his trips to Africa, Simone Cipriani, a luxury executive, landed in Kogorocho, a poor part of Nairobi. There he met Gino Filipini, a missionary who lived and worked with a group of shoe craftsmen. I saw an opportunity. I thought that, with their skills, they could access better living conditions if I could introduce them to a more international supply chain, which would give them a better profit margin. I contacted a United Nations organization that supported me in achieving my goal,” says Cipriani. Thus was born the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a platform that has been connecting artisans from developing countries with reputed global fashion brands for over a decade. “We have managed to lift thousands of artisans and their families out of poverty. Most are women, so the impact of their work on their respective communities is enormous. Somehow we are working to revive the social capital of many countries in the south”, he says.

For some years, he has received financial support from the European Union to do his job. “We are now focusing on communities in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Mali, Congo, Uganda or Benin.” He has developed collections for Camper, Adidas, Stella McCartney, or Brother Wellies, among many others. “We have been working with Vivienne Westwood for 11 years, and that consistency means she has been able to create many opportunities for many people at once,” Cipriani says. “With ZAZY Vintage we have built communities of artisans, with United Arrow we have focused on building new consumer networks…”. Recently, they have launched an acceleration program for African design. “Many creatives are invisible because the focus of fashion is still on large European capitals. What we do is try to connect designers from across the continent with major players in the industry to make them visible and advise them on production matters. Can go

From the Ethical Fashion Initiative they also produce periodic reports on the transparency of the sector, and provide advice to achieve sustainability and traceability in the supply chain. “A lot remains to be done,” he says. For decades the fashion industry has been responsible for mass production to conceal the workings of its supply chain, as Cipriani puts it, “textile traditions are being absorbed by an industry and a business model based on standardized production.” ”, but even when these traditions have been respected, in most cases they have not been respected by the hands that perform them. “That day I was reading an article about how some of the luxuries made in developed countries Textiles were made by exploited people. This is unacceptable. A cloth that is made under these conditions is a stained cloth,” he says. Sustainability (at least ‘real’ sustainability) plays in two directions: environmental And human, and you love each other. “Everything happens in the supply chain where human rights are violated and where it is corrupted. «, Argument.

Things can be done differently. The key, according to Cipriani, is to ask for clarification. “Companies must report how and where they manufacture and what their environmental, social and labor values ​​are. Shareholders and agencies are already asking for it, but consumers and impact groups are asking for it too. When these practices are normalised, they will improve the conditions of workers »

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