Fashion. love, Africa proves that creativity can grow in the most unlikely places. Founded by Ryan Clements, a former design director and developer for Zac Posen and J. Mendel, the company sells chic, handmade bags crafted by women from a Kenyan slum. Joining the ranks of other Africa-based fashion initiatives like SUNO and Goods 4 Goods, Clements’ project promotes community development and sustainability, while also producing unique, highly desirable products for the eager international fashion market.
During a volunteer trip to Kenya, Clements came across a group of creative crafstwomen living in a slum built atop an active garbage dump who converted plastic discards into crotchet material for sturdy bags. Seeing an opportunity to help empower this fledgling business, Clements provided design direction to “construct a collection of bags with a more modern, western world appeal.” The result is a line of eye-catching carry-alls that are available for purchase directly from the individual makers. And, in the tradition of iconic bags and the women they’re named after, each design’s namesake is a woman currently working for the company.
In addition to constituting covetable designs, all materials are made from eco-friendly, renewable or post-consumer goods, and $10 of the profit from each bag sold goes back into the community via an international NGO. This giving-back model has helped community development and sustainability through relocation from the slum, child sponsorship, medical assistance and loan programs.
Learn more about the project directly from Clements here: