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Why African fashion brands need to embrace the ethos of sustainability.

Eyram Rafael



Over the last few years, sustainability has become a buzzword in the fashion industry, but in all reality, the concept of sustainability goes beyond another trend word. It is more about the impact and our environment. Simply put, the idea of sustainable fashion is centred on sourcing, manufacturing and designing garments that maximizes the benefits to the fashion industry and society at large, and at the same time, has minimal adverse effects on our world. So why should African Fashion Brands need to embrace the ethos of sustainability?

Sustainability protects the ecosystem.

The main aim of the sustainable movement in fashion is for environmental protection and to stop the already degrading ecosystem that is influenced by fashion production and activities. When African fashion brands begin to embrace sustainability, the waste and pollutants that are unequivocally linked to fashion production are reduced or eliminated, thus helping to protect the environment.

Protects brands and attenuate risks.

Living in our present world of “cancel culture”, the last thing a brand needs is to be cancelled because of its inability to adopt sustainable practices in its production process. When African fashion brands begin to become more sustainable, they escape their chance of falling into the harsh claws of “cancel culture”, their brand’s image becomes more secured. The brand is able to mitigate or sometimes do away totally with risks such as bad brand image or perception that may arise out of unethical dealings.

Boosts business performance.

Embracing sustainability will help African fashion entrepreneurs to boost the performance of their businesses. When brands become more sustainable, they’re able to craft for themselves a good reputation in the eyes of their public. This has rippling effects of more affinity for the brand and increased sales. This is because there is already a growing market for sustainable goods, especially in fashion. The consumers are not just mere consumers anymore. They have become conscious consumers of fashion. The last thing they want to do is to patronize a fast-fashion business, thus increasing sales for sustainable brands.

Helps fight injustice in the industry.

Operating a sustainable business helps address the ubiquitous ills associated with the fashion industry, such as unfair wages, poor working conditions and other human rights issues. As more African fashion brands begin to adopt sustainability, they indirectly start to confront and fight the many ills of unethical production. When these ills are addressed, the fashion ecosystem flourishes and becomes more balanced as every process involved is carried out with the end results and impact in mind.



Image Credit: Ajabeng @ajabeng.gh

Photography: Stephen Tayo @stephen.tayo