African and ethnic prints have cycled their way back into fashion again.
We saw some of it again on the runways of some of the Mercedes New York Fashion week shows this year. It is wonderful to see the continent celebrated and the colorful and geometric patterns, designs and textiles admired and adored by many globally.
But alas some who are conscientious may wonder whether the original fesigners and creators of these magnificent fabrics would also reap the benefits of their hard work. We know that the textile, fashion and clothing industry doesn’t always do best by the poorest and lowest members in the chain of command.
There is a high probability that by the time the designs go from the runway to main street, they would’ve been copied and mass produced in a Bangladesh plant, far from where the inspiration for them originated.
If you are so inclined to purchase an ethnic African printed or inspired piece today, here are some great resources and places for you to consider getting your African ethnic print fix from for the Spring and Summer season. You would be rest -assured in knowing that real African mothers will benefit from your purchase of their craftsmanship.
Here are a few sources of Fair-Trade products to consider:
Janey Appleseed sells handmade, one of a kind dresses for little girls, produced in small quantities by skilled artisans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Each and every Janey Appleseed purchase directly provides employment, independence, education, and hope, for women and their children in the Congo
AMANI Y JUU
Amani ya Juu means “higher peace” in Swahili. Amani is a fair trade sewing and economic development program for marginalized women in Africa, in particular from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, and Uganda, and two US cities (Washington, DC and Chattanooga, TN).
MAMA AFRICA DESIGNS
MamaAfrica Designs sells handmade limited quantity items created by female artisans in Democratic Republic of Congo. Each sale goes to help the women the organization works with “build hope in their community with the ultimate goal of empowering them to stand proud and independent.”
MAMA AFRICA APRON
Help send one child to school with the purchase of one Mama Africa apron.
Finally, for the heck of it, enjoy this wonderful display of a gorgeous maternity dress that Swedish designer Anna Ekre created for the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) campaign “Stand up for African Mothers”.