ASOS (As Seen On Screen) the mega fast fashion retailer it seems, is finally giving in to the international clamour for ethical fashion. Since it started it’s ethical fashion line in 2009 hashtagged #ASOSAfrica, ASOS has stocked brands who either manufactured ethically in Africa or were based directly in Africa.
But it seems in 2016 ASOS is taking this commitment a notch further by creating a dedicated platform for the 40 ecofriendly brands it has concessionary deals with.
Among these brands is Made Jewellery, a British based accessories brand who in collaboration with the ethical fashioin initiative has all its jewellery manufactured by 60 Kenyan artisans in their Nairobi factory in accordance to the fair trade act. The brand is loved by celebrities including Jessica Alba, Debra Messing and Alexa Chung as well as brands, designers and retailers around the world.
Then there is ASOS AFRICA, the brand’s answer to its UK and US manufacturing enterprises. ASOS Africa has been active since 2011 and released twelve collections over six seasons. The ASOS Africa collection works with community groups across the continent to encourage emerging artisans and creatives.
Made by SOKO, a Kenyan clothing workshop situated in the Rukinga wildlife sanctuary founded by Joanna Maiden , ASOS AFRICA, the international fair trade initiative and the Ethical Fashion Initiative work together to provide safe and fair employment for (predominantly female) communities in across Kenya. In the intervening six years, the team of tailors and artisans working on ASOS Africa has now grown from four to sixty, with ASOS setting up a charity that donates funds to match proceeds from sales to build a bigger workshop and provide free lunch and childcare to employees.
ASOS AFRICA has gained support from many high profile persons and organizations seeking to support the motivations behind the label, including the First lady of the US Michelle Obama.
With the launch of ASOS Eco, the dedicated portal for shopping these and the other eco-brands under the ASOS umbrella, maybe it is time for other eco-friendly African fashion brands to milk the opportunities this will bring.