African Designers Make Business Case For Ethical Fashion

Milan (AFP) - South Africa's Sindiso Khumalo hopes you like the fact that her clothes are made in Cape Town and "sweatshop free".

Sindiso Khumalo

Sindiso Khumalo

But most of all, the London-based designer hopes you want to buy them because you love wearing the signature graphic prints inspired-by and made in her homeland.

"I think people should buy into my stuff because it is good, not just because it is African," she told AFP in Milan, where she is one of four designers with roots on the continent showcasing their Spring/Summer 2016 collection during the city's latest fashion week.

"That is how myself and all of the designers here like to think of ourselves. We are designers first and then we are Africans," Khumalo says.

"I am a woman, a mother. I'm all of these things.

"But people should buy into my brand because they like the stuff and it is good quality. Bonus that it is African!"

Khumalo is in Milan looking to make contacts and find new buyers thanks to the latest stage of an initiative aimed at forging a mutually-beneficial, non-exploitative connection between the world of high fashion and highly-skilled but often isolated and impoverished craftsmen and women in the developing world.

The Ethical Fashion Initiative, a programme run by the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC), has already helped some 20 top designers including Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney to source original textiles, jewellery and other accessories in several African countries and in Haiti. Read more here