Dame Vivienne Westwood may be designing a range of bags for the Ethical Fashion Programme in Africa, but don’t mistake her efforts for altruism. “This is not charity,” the British fashion legend insists. “This is work.” Westwood’s first collection for the United Nations–endorsed initiative consists of three shopping totes, all handmade in Nairobi from recycled advertising banners and safari tents. Produced by the same marginalized communities of women they benefit—including single mothers, widows, and HIV/AIDS victims—the bags provide sustainable employment and income for some of the world’s poorest.
ETHICAL FASHION AFRICA
The Ethical Fashion Programme is backed by the International Trade Centre, the joint body of the UN and World Trade Organization. By partnering with major retailers and high-end designers who source from microproducers in Africa, the project supports the work of more than 7,000 disenfranchised women.