On 21 June 2016, Hivos East Africa, Equity Bank Kenya, and the Association of Fashion Designers of Kenya (AFAD) released the findings of a study that was commissioned by Hivos to analyze the impediments to sustainably integrating local fashion designers and small tailoring houses into the domestic retail platform, as well as scoping the opportunities in regional and international markets.
The report titled, The Kenyan Textile and Fashion Industry: The role of fashion designers and small tailors in the fiber to fashion value chain, highlights the state of the fashion industry and tries to examine how Kenyan designers and manufacturers can attract and tap into the global apparel value chains.
During her opening remarks, Hivos East Africa’s Regional Director Mendi Njonjo spoke of a fashion and textile industry that remains largely untapped given its potential to create 300,000 jobs for women and youth in Kenya’s creative economy. ‘’Hivos sees the findings of this study as an opportunity to ensure women and youth are part of this huge market. Besides employment and empowerment, the textile and cotton industry offers the possibility of renewable energy powered businesses and green jobs, which is a big step towards sustainable development,’’ she said.
Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Dr. James Mwangi said that this initiative aims to drive employment and wealth creation among local fashion designers whose overriding desire is to be self-reliant, which will eventually strengthen the creative economy.
In conjunction with AFAD, the designers will be provided with networking training and platforms to market their designs. Assistance from established fashion designers will be instrumental in nurturing the young talent on what is required to make it in the industry.
The report has recommendations on how to sustainably integrate local fashion designers into the fashion value chain in order for them to maximally benefit from an industry that has been trying to find its place in the creative scene for some time.
These findings come at a time when statistics indicate that Kenya’s local fashion design and apparel retail market is estimated at more than US $330m a year, according to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM). Financial institutions have been cited as some of the key players that will unlock the full potential of the textile and clothing sector with regards to creating jobs, generating income, strengthening trade, accelerating technology adoption, attracting investment, and promoting local women and youth entrepreneurs.
Hivos East Africa seeks to counter some of these challenges in the fashion and textile industry through its new programme, ‘Fashionomics’, that will promote decent work labor rights for women, green jobs and renewable energy powered businesses in the fashion and textile industry.
Hivos has been supporting Kenya’s creative economy through the HEVA Fund that provides alternative financing to creative professionals to establish their own enterprises and access global and regional markets.
You can download the report from the right side bar.