Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Designs done

Finally!!! I have confirmed my designs...well when i say confirmed i mean i have 25 styles that I am reducing to 15 maximum. I am so far happy with them but feel they need a little more work to get them completely right. SO i meet the lovely Emily my faithful patternmaker, next week and will hand her all styles to complete patterns and toiles within 3 weeks as I am due back to see my mentor David and he wants to see all toiles completed.

SO i have fabrics ready to be bought, and being researching for recycled hangtags company suppliers so things are moving but blooming heck it is getting expensive and my measly budget is dwindling quickly...now i understand how starting a fashion company can be expensive and even more since I am also relaunching my bridal business (more to come on that closer to launch date!!)

NOw i just have a message that my lovely friend Sonya who has been helping with graphics is due to go back to her home country and wont be able to do any graphic work for me for a while...i scream...you must have heard me from where you are. Very happy for her and she has promised to work on stuff for me from her home but my days what a shock. Well at least I have yet another place to visit and go on holiday too... and thank God its somewhere sunny too cos Lord knows the hours i am putting in recently i will need a good, hot sunny place to visit just to chill out!

Back to school!

I have decided to undertake my masters in Ethical Fashion at the UCA University of Creative Arts at Epsom...funnily enough its where i did my Ba (Hons) degree. I was asked if i was always interested in Ethical Fashion and when I thought back I remembered doing a competition for Smirnoff International and I became runner up for my project which looked at man-made v natural - i looked at the ozone layer and the environment. Then my graduate collection used all natural fabrics...hemps - proper potato bag style, silk and cotton. Thought you would be interested in seeing where i came from - here is some of my graduate collection way back in 2001.


interesting news

The ethical fashion forum...EFF to those in the know .. dahling :)
have asked to have my profile on the site showcased in a presentation for their relaunch party this week!

here are his words

EFF Network Profile

For the upcoming launch party of the network we have been looking for
some members who’s profiles represent exactly what the network is
about! We at the EFF think your profile does exactly this; you connect
easily with people, contribute to discussions and really make the most
of being part of the ever-growing network!

At the party on Thursday we will be having a looped presentation that
will be running throughout the night consisting of various ethical
fashion images as well as examples of fantastic profiles on the
network. We would love to show your profile as part of this.

If you are not comfortable with us promoting your profile in this way,
please let me know.

Many thanks!


so of course i said yes!

means i am doing something right!

Friday, 10 July 2009

creating a website

Now i am experiencing a rather irritating thing trying to set up my website in order to register the name before its bought by someone else or a company etc.

Now on registering my business all was fine re the business name but going for the site now the domain is already taken by someone in the USA and if i want to buy it off them the minumum they would accept is 101dollars! Now even with the exchange rate it still equates to about at least 65quid....so i debated whether to add www......designs.com or www.......studio.com or www........clothing.com to the end of the name (im specifically leaving the name of my brand out until it it all up and running...i know the suspense is killing!). I ended up going with designs...but still a little unsure...it has to grow on me i guess....

fantastic magazine to plug

Arise magazine is doing something positive and glamorous for Africa that I highly support. Check out the pics and buy now!

african sites to check out


Thursday, 9 July 2009

in memory of MJ - the best entertainer in world

God rest his soul


ethical brands i like

Two of my favourite brands in ethical fashion are both Kuyichi and Edun. Both use sustainable and/or ethical materials and Edun especially links to Africa - a personal love of mine

Kuyichi - being style conscious

Their concept of 'spare denim' basically a method of recycling and usage of waste materials, is a fantastic initiative

alongside this they use organic cottons, and more recently recycled polyester - i recently saw them at the recent bread and butter show in berlin (such a great city) and everything they are doing with their label i desire to do with mine...plus more

check out soon their new store with all reclaimed materials - fantastic!



"We make t-shirts that support sustainable socioeconomic development. Put simply, that means that when you buy one of our shirts, you help us to employ people in Africa who might otherwise be unemployed. We work with disenfranchised African citizens, teaching them to grow cotton, sew, and participate in the textile business. Our shirts are made in Africa by Africans. We support communities, give jobs to the jobless, and teach skills to people who lack specialized training.

And, in addition to all that, it’s just a better t-shirt. "

quote from edun website

http://www.edunonline.com/aboutel.aspx and http://www.kuyichi.com/kuyichi/?page_id=937

they source cotton and manufacture quite a lot of styles and all their tees from Africa
I believe there is a lot of potential in Africa and its the nation the world will be forced to look at.

This leads me to introduce a cool brand....not an 'eco' label but still cool in its representation of Africa...welcome to www.africaisthefuture.com

Sunday, 5 July 2009

the journey begins....

I have been meaning to start this blog for a while and to document the stages I go through in setting up this ethical clothing label. So here we go.

I officially started this label beginning of 2009 after I saw an ad in drapers record for a one year mentorship that David Jones (fashion guru!!) was offering to just 10 new designers to help them set up their fashion businesses. Now i had considered doing it for over 5 years but to be honest fear was the main factor in my delay. But I am so certain that this is what I studied fashion design for.

So my first decision was to make the brand ethical / fairtrade / responsible using organic / sustainable materials i.e organic cotton / bamboo / soy etc etc.

I have been inspired by brands/labels Katherine E Hamnett, Vivienne Westwood AR, Edun, Kuyichi to name a few. Initially I wanted to work on a womens sport and street label with an american feel to it but i decided that it shall be a womens streetwear label BUT it must be ethical AND it must be British with a london edge. We have great brands like Firetrap and All Saints (as well as VW) who do great work that is edgy, quirky with fantastic cut lines and I felt to give it an american esque feel i.e babyphat, apple bottoms etc would be wrong.

So after this my next decision was to work closely with Africa and to produce and manufacture the clothing within different African countries. My aim was to source my materials as much as possible within Africa too...this isnt proving as possible unless I am buying traditional African print fabrics (which will only be minimal in my label) but there are some available materials I can use.

Early in the year I visited Ghana where I met with a lady who has a fantastic jewel of a workshop in the back of her garden behind her house. She was very excited about the possibility of us workign together and the relationship was born. I have also networked with another factory in Kenya I am eager to work with who are responsible in their working conditions and with the staff, I am also in talks with a more newer initiative also in Kenya.

So far I have been sourcing organic cotton jersey, fleece - hemp and cotton mixes, bamboo and soy jerseys, recycled polyester etc etc these are relative to street and sports pieces. I have yet to complete designs but have already designed some styles that I have made toiles of in the UK and now am sending to Kenya to sample ready for production once orders come in.

It is early days and lots to do such as my logo is still an issue to be dealt with :) finalising all designs in preparation for my monthly meetings with David, completing my business plan, completing costings, doing more research for prices in store and online, websites...and the list goes on. Money and finance of course is an issue too. Its my aim to fund things with my own money through wages and if needed overdrafts but not yet to get a loan out. I am happy to go slow in order to have things done right and to not get into a pile of debt.

Overall it is my aim to spread the message of a positive modern Africa through the medium of fashion. I feel that thers is a vibe, an energy and a movement happening in Africa and I am very excited about it. Of course there is still poverty stricken areas and its all part of my brand to give back through earnings...this would be in a tithe payment to charities, through setting up charities, through mission work, through organising events to generate funding for initiatives and charities and most of all to set up a school and adjoined factory to teach sewing and education for life, including life skills. AKABI means love in greek a form of the word Agape - a measure of Godly love. The first range Love From Africa is all about giving something to Africa as Africa gives something to the rest of the world.

SO the vision is HUGE but like this brand says...www.africaisthefuture.com.