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Aug 09, 2023

5 Green African brands the world needs to know

Wondering how to shop ethically and sustainably without compromising on quality or design? Well, what if we told you that Africa is driving the future of conscious fashion? Contemporary African brands and designers are embracing sustainability by adopting eco-friendly materials and ethical textiles in their work. So, the continent is filled with numerous businesses driving green brands, with five of the top names being Lisa Folawiyo, Mayamiko, Reform Studio, Quasi Design, and Oseiduro. These African brands strongly focus on creating sustainable initiatives to reduce environmental impact, help support local entrepreneurs, and prioritise ethical sourcing. These houses positively impact their community and beyond, from upcycling furniture and limiting plastic materials to promoting African-produced sustainable fashion.


With Lisa Folawiyo, West African fabrics meet modern tailoring and beaded embellishments

IG: @lisafolawiyo_studio

Lisa Folawiyo is a sustainable African fashion brand that fuses traditional craftsmanship and cultures with modern design. Based in Lagos, Nigeria, the brand brings together local tailors and artisans to create unique, one-of-a-kind designs and patterns using ethically sourced fabrics and recycled materials. With an emphasis on sustainability and community development, Lisa Folawiyo is committed to reviving the art of African tailoring and empowering artisans to create beautiful and sustainable pieces that reflect its rich heritage.


Mayamiko’s womenswear writes an ode to Malawian women artisans and chitenjes

IG: @mayamikodesigned

Established by Paola Masperi, Mayamiko is a responsible womenswear and lifestyle brand that works to empower and dignify the artisans of Malawi. Their mission is to create unique products with traditional African techniques and locally sourced fabrics, referred to as ‘chitenje’, while helping to improve the livelihoods of women artisans in their local community. Their commitment to ethical production and inspiring social mission make Mayamiko an invaluable part of the African fashion industry. But their social enterprise actually supports women all over the globe, and they also have plant died jewellery from Sri Lanka, hand-knitted fair trade Peruvian hats and upcycled silk from Italy.


How to relaunch the weaving industry in Egypt? Reform combines old techniques with a new concept for fashion, furniture and home accessories while fighting the country’s waste problem
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Un post condiviso da REFORM STUDIO (@reform_studio)

IG: @reform_studio 

Founded by Mariam Hazem & Hend Riad in 2011, Reform Studio is an Egyptian sustainable brand dedicated to rethinking classic home textile designs with a minimalist style and conscious production. To fight the waste problem in Egypt, they invented Plastex, a new eco-friendly material made by weaving discarded plastic bags. By encouraging positive change and raising environmental awareness, they extend the life cycle of a plastic bag from an average use of 12 minutes to years. Meanwhile, “Reform’s main vision is to promote the use of sustainable materials for everyday items such as fashion, furniture and home accessories,” they said. Reform revived the weaving industry in Egypt, with the main goal of restoring an old craft that is on the brink of extinction, as this craft goes back more than 1000 years ago. The automation of the weaving industry affected handmade crafts to the extent that craftsmen would not be able to make a living out of it, putting this craft in danger of disappearing within a decade.”


In Eswatini, craft company Quazi Design’s jewellery and handmade paper masks as wall art will change your perception of waste paper 
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Un post condiviso da Quazi Design (@quazi_design)

IG: @quazi_design

Started in 2010 to create employment in Eswatini, Southern Africa, Quazi Design is a craft company that creates sustainable design with social impact. With a strong community of local women artisans, this thriving small business uses 100% recycled paper to make its products, such as jewellery and handmade paper masks, as wall art. “Our products are all handmade by women employed full-time at our workshop with permanent contracts,” they declared. “We focus on developing new and innovative techniques using only waste paper and want to change the perception of recycled materials. We turn these discarded magazines and newspapers into original designs.” In their retail shop at the Ngwenya Glass complex in Eswatini, you can even experience artisans blowing recycled glass.


The best hand-batiked dresses and jumpsuits? In Accra, Ghana, everything is handmade and hand-dyed at Osei-Duro 
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Un post condiviso da Osei-Duro (@oseiduro)

IG: @oseiduro

“We dye and sew everything we make in Ghana, contracting with small-scale artisans and manufacturers. Yep, handmade and hand-dyed everything.” This is what Osei-Duro does. Founded over ten years ago by North Americans Molly Keogh and Maryanne Mathias, they are based in Ghana but also have a studio in Vancouver, Canada, and a distribution centre in Colorado, USA. As a sustainable fashion brand, they focus on traditional African fabrics and artisanal dyeing techniques.Over the years, they have worked with techniques such as hand batiking and tie-dyeing, botanical dyeing such as natural indigo and onion skins, hand weaving and ikat, recycled brass casting (lost wax), hand crochet and machine knitting, silk-screening, quilting, embroidery, woodcarving, and more. Their collections are ethically made, and their vibrant colours and patterns celebrate culture and make a unique and vibrant statement for any occasion.



Vanessa Oyinlola Nicol
Alumna of the Fashion Business & Digital Marketing Intensive course, Milan