The Ethical Fashion Initiative brought together its best and brightest at a soiree showcase for its first official event on the Paris Fashion Week calendar.
“This is the best group of designers we have accelerated,” said program chief technical adviser Simone Cipriani.
EFI will host its first fashion sustainability award with the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana later this year, and hopes to bring other fashion weeks on board soon.
“I’ve discovered that there’s a certain kind of honesty that comes with the woven fabrics because of the human hand behind it, and the lineage of the craftsmanship in itself.
Mdingi, last year’s winner of the LVMH Karl Lagerfeld Prize, was on hand to present his collection of brightly colored knitwear that deftly toes the line between artisanal and refined.
EFI, a partnership under the U.N.’s umbrella, was launched in 2009 but the pandemic and the fashion industry’s resulting reckoning with its role in inequality and the climate crisis have increased the focus on inclusive companies. Designer Louise Sommerlatte said the collection of lightweight separates is for “the year-round summer” of Kenya.
Cipriani added that the main issue plaguing the industry is a lack of consistent standards, greenwashing and social washing.
Hamaji featured delicate dresses, trousers, coats and hats from sustainably sourced, ethically upcycled velvet. “We wanted them to be here in fashion week because these people are not only designers, in their own countries they’re agents of change.
“We have more brands and distributors calling us [now], because they need to do something that is socially sustainable.