Ethical Fashion Initiative’s debut at Paris Fashion Week
ITC’s Ethical Fashion Initiative made its debut during Paris Fashion Week showcasing African designers from current and previous Accelerators. Collections ranged from ready-to-wear to jewellery and marked the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s first show in Paris during the official Fashion Week calendar.
On 2 March, 2022, nine African designers showed their collections at The Norm in Paris, thanks to support from the European Union. Attendance at the Paris show served as a formal debut for these brands to the globe's leading fashion center. For autumn-winter, the designers all of whom are based and producing within the African continent, displayed their collections ranging from ready-to-wear to jewellery and accessories.
All designers featured in the show were participants of EFI’s Accelerator programme, specifically designed to propel African brands forward in the global marketplace. While designers Lukhanyo Mdingi, Margaux Wong, and Jiamini are alumni, having exited the programme in December 2021, other brands Laurenceairline, Kente Gentlemen, Ohiri, Hamaji, Suave and Katush are currently in the middle of their second year of the programme.
Together, all nine creatives contribute to positioning and redefining the notion of today’s and tomorrow’s Made-in-Africa in the industry, expressing the richness of the craft and creativity of the continent’s talents. All the garments worn during EFI’s show were proudly produced in Africa and reflect the unique inspirations and identities of each designer. It was striking because of the daring way in which it fused traditional regional arts with cutting-edge design and luxury.
The event took place at The Norm, a cross-disciplinary venue and space that gives way for both established and emerging designers that are leaders in the field of sustainability to be welcomed into the fold, featuring curated displays of hand-selected archival pieces from iconic designers, as well as a vintage selection. Every detail of the show at The Norm had an eco-conscious backstory.From the fashion, which is locally manufactured, and at times, exclusively artisanal, to the set, where the elements used were selected on a zero-waste principle, featuring upcycled, vintage, and recycled materials. The set utilised handwoven cotton from Burkina Faso throughout, reflective of its use in many of the collections presented.
Professionals within the fashion industry, curious visitors, friends of the designers, and the EFI team were all welcomed in a relaxed, inclusive, and musical atmosphere, signalling a changing landscape in the industry.
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