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Creative DNA Kenya

Creative DNA Kenya Pendeza Weaving Project, Kenya, photography by Reed Davis, Fashion Revolution Kenya

Pendeza Weaving Project, Kenya, photography by Reed Davis, Fashion Revolution Kenya

19 June 2020

At a pivotal time for the fashion industry, this programme focuses on sharing and supporting alternative, responsible and innovative approaches to the global fashion system.

It centres around a contemporary exploration of Kenya’s fashion value chain, through research, creative enterprise and storytelling.

In collaboration with partners from the Kenyan and UK creative industries, the activity includes a local industry mapping, alternative sustainable materials research, fashion business support and incubation. This body of work forms a key part of the Fashion DNA programme run by British Council around the world.

RESEARCH & INSIGHT INTO THE KENYAN FASHION ECOSYSTEM 

Devloping an analysis of the needs within the current Kenyan fashion sector, British Council will develop a Needs Analysis report produced by East African Collective RW  and independent UK research consultant Jan Miller . Supplementing this, a case study on one of Kenya’s oldest markets, Uhuru Markets will be developed in partnership with HEVA fund  as well as an analysis of the potential use for alternative fibres and raw materials in Kenya led by the Kenyan chapter of Fashion Revolutionaries .

The in-depth insight from these reports will inform the activity and future fashion programming for the British Council. Executive summaries and recommendations will be published and presented to relevant stakeholders in the fashion sector in Kenya to support the policy and advocacy needs of the sector.

POLICY & ADVOCACY FOR SUSTAINABLE FUTURES 

The Fashion Revolutionaries team in Kenya are mapping out the fashion value chain to identify policy gaps that can benefit from sustainable practices. With support from the British Council, ITC SheTrades, the team hosted a structured dialogue that brought together stakeholders and generated conversation on meaningful improvements and policy recommendations. 

Building on this insight, the Fashion Revolutionaries team are researching the development of alternative fabrics that can stimulate local production and entrench sustainable production practices in Kenya’s growing economy. In this report, they will examine existing industries, explore the policy landscape on the fashion value chain and will share outcomes of their field research into alternative fibres and raw materials with potential for growth in Kenya.

CREATIVE ENTERPRISE & INCUBATION 

A series of creative enterprise workshops followed by a 12 month fashion incubator for 11 Kenyan designer businesses, forms the incuation activity within the programme. In response to COVID-19 the fashion incubator will be, in part, digitalised. 

Over ten days, sixty fashion businesses focused in textiles, clothing, accessories, fashion photography and film participatate in the creative enterprise workshops, led by Nesta. Through the workshops the practicioners engage in interactive exercises and peer-led activities that encourage reflection on their brands and business. 

Following this, a year long fashion incubator run in partnership by Metta Nairobi  and Fashion Scout UK  supports 11 designers’ working across footwear, clothing, textiles and jewellery to develop their brands by tackling growth-stage challenges. As part of the incubator, the designers will access and interact with a global network of fashion experts as well as take part in a virtual showcase led by a Kenyan creative team and one week residency in the UK in February during London Fashion Week 2021.

GLOBAL DIALOGUES 

Developed in response to COVID-19, Fashion Fridays  is a series of online conversations with stakeholders from the fashion sectors in Kenya, Sub-Sharan Africa and the UK. Each discussion explores different perspectives on global issues including digital fashion, the second hand clothing market, sustainable textiles and building resilient businesses. 'Fashion Fridays' as a term is linked to a recent government directive to all civil servants to wear “Made in Kenya” designs to work every Friday.

For further information as the programme progresses to explore how fashion can respond to local and global socio-envirometal challenges, please visit our East Africa Arts site.