Sunday, March 29, 2009

Threads of change - it's about Time

This latest Time magazine, well it's the Style and Design supplement (April 2009), has an article titled 'Threads Of Change' which really struck a note with me. They say "Global fashion executives are forging ties with artisans in East Africa. The result is an upswing in employment and building of local businesses that has the potential to change many lives".

The article explained how Aid to Africa, being charitable donations, doesn't have a lasting effect. So true - all those second hand clothes (which arrived about 20 years ago) really decimated the local industry. (And also food doesn't do much for the farmers who can no longer sell their own produce locally - why when food is being given away?) It's tough because we all want to help people who are suffering.

But there is good news, through investment and development of business it is possible to make a lasting difference, and this article was about the companies doing just that.

  • Max & Co. (& Africa & You) who are working with the UN's International Trade Center (ITC) to harness the skills of local artisans and use them in collections of accessories of its youthful brand.
  • Made - ethical jewelry company (whose customers include Kate Moss)
  • Suno, whose founder wants to fuse African talents with those of designers in New York City.
  • Toto Knits, a company that employs disadvantaged African women to knit baby sweaters for export.
On a similar note, check out Kiva - a website that allows you to give small loans directly to collectives or small businesses in developing nations. Wow!

No comments:

Post a Comment