With just 40,000 workers, Kenya’s garments sector is relatively small. The African Development Bank’s Fashionomics initiative may change that. The initiative provides for an online business platform designed to boost small businesses in the fashion and textile industry.
The bank has high hopes for the further development of the garments sector. It believes the sector could generate 400,000 jobs in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025. That will only happen in a sustainable way if the region breaks away from the model the fashion industry has pursued elsewhere in the world in which only the lowest price matters in design and production.
In a Guardian report about the Africa garments industry, experts insist that the ‘race to the bottom’ by global brands seeking out low-cost labour causes great harm to local workers. Also, the report states, majority of artisans are trapped in domestic markets without links to international trade.
Some fashion brands choose an alternative approach by connecting Kenyan artisans to luxury brands such as Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney in a bid to pull high fashion houses away from mass production factories.
Further reading on The Guardian