5 Eco-Friendly Nigerian Fashion Brands
By: Ose Ogbebor
The world is finally starting to pay attention to climate change and sustainability, all due to the incredible work of environmental activists. In the global fashion industry, for instance, sustainability has become increasingly important as many brands are committing to building more environmentally and socially ethical business models.
According to Green Strategy, sustainable fashion is “manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects.”
In Africa, in particular, there has been increased availability of brands encouraging sustainability. The African fashion industry is focusing on ethical methods of manufacturing and consuming fashion products with brands such as Lisa Folawiyo, Kiki Kaman, Nkwo, and Wanger Ayu leading the way in sustainable Nigerian fashion.
Lagos Fashion Week started the Green Access competition to “discover raw fashion talent from Nigeria and inspire them to consciously begin to explore sustainable ways of achieving their creative goals.” Out of the submitted entries, five finalists were selected in 2018 to participate in a workshop with Nkwo and given a chance to present their work at a showcase for Lagos Fashion Week.
MxDonna is a contemporary Nigerian brand established in Cotonou in April of 2016 by Cynthia Madonna Orji. They are passionate about sustainability in fashion and achieve their creative goals by empowering and employing women with skills, ensuring fair labor and appropriate wages for the people they work with, and up-cycling to reduce the number of materials put in landfills.
Sabi Mode is a men’s and womenswear brand that creates clothing using sustainable techniques and practices as a tool. One of the tools used by founder Paul Nwadiukwu is up-cycling headstock garments and fabrics to create new quality garments. The inspiration behind the brand name is ‘WABI SABI,’ a Japanese term, which is a concept of things whose beauty stems from age.
Labake Anyebe, the founder of this eponymous brand, believes that the death of fabric is as important as its birth. This label is concerned with environmentalism and encouraging a sustainable lifestyle. They also promote the growth of cultural heritage practices in the process of producing youthful alluring garments and accessories ethically.
Ebuka Omaliko started Maliko Studios to create artisanal shoes and accessories thoughtfully crafted through recycling and up-cycling. Local artisans are a key part of the production process as a means of encouraging sustainable craftsmanship. The brand offers training for young people in leathercraft to preserve the past artisanal heritage and empower the youth.
Elexiay is a sustainable brand creating uniquely beautiful clothes with handmade and recyclable crochet techniques. Elyon Adede started the brand to make a positive impact after having an inspiring discussion in one of her classes on climate change and noticing how the recession affected communities. The brand only uses locally sourced yarn and ensures that the artisans are paid fair wages.