By Advika Srivastava
In recent years, the global fashion industry is working towards becoming more sustainable and establishing its footing in the circular economy. Becoming sustainable is a long-haul and difficult process for all fashion brands, and the African continent seems to be struggling to keep up. These are our top tips on how to make your African fashion brand more sustainable.
Implementing a buy-back/ clothing return program by offering customers incentives
The second-hand clothing market in Africa is big, with 80% of people in Africa wearing second-hand clothing. Therefore, implementing a buy-back program and re-selling returned goods for cheaper can increase the shelf-life of clothing, make your brand more sustainable, and make your sustainability efforts visible to your audience.
Using locally-grown fabric and resources over imports from abroad
One of the biggest challenges is the reliance of the African fashion industry on imported garments which often contain traces of harmful chemicals. Therefore, supporting locally-grown fabrics will reduce the pollution that your brand leads to, support the local economy, and satisfy the growing global consumer demand for authentic African designs and clothes.
Leveraging “slow fashion” and made-to-order business model
Slow fashion has seen a recent surge in popularity. Slow fashion embraces quality over time. To implement this slow fashion model, several brands, such as Maison Cleo, have started creating clothes only when an order is placed, thus preventing waste.
Exploring 3D design and virtual fashion shows
Instead of creating physical samples, investing in 3D design software can reduce the amount of waste that you generate. Furthermore, virtual fashion shows on social media that rely on 3D models are a great way to increase customer engagement, reduce costs, and become more sustainable. Anifa Mvuemba, a Congolese designer, held a virtual fashion show that went viral on the internet and helped increase her brand visibility.