This week in fashion news, 2 fashion entrepreneurs are among the 50 finalists for the Africa Netpreneurs Prize, the CFDA builds a new digital platform for the New York Fashion Week and many more.
Here are the highlights of this week’s fashion news from around the world.
Two Fashion Entrepreneurs Make Africa Netpreneurs Prize 50 Finalists
Among the 50 finalists selected to compete for this year’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative are 2 fashion entrepreneurs, Fatima Zahra of So’Fatoo and Diarra Bousso of Diarrablu, a subsidiary of the Dakar Boutique Group.
So’Fatoo is a fashion label that focuses on making “clothes that reveal the authentic you.” The outfits the brand creates are a celebration of the African culture and made to be hijab friendly. The brand makes both menswear and womenswear.
Fatima Zahra is from Senegal.
Diarrablu is a fashion brand that was founded to “iterate for sustainability while highlighting the African continent’s rich colours and unique patterns through practical and versatile pieces designed using mathematical concepts or algorithms.”
The collections in the brand are marked by strong cultural cuts, bold prints, colourful accent and sustainable solids. They use algebraic graphs and geometric transformations to create iconic prints. Diarra Bousso is from Senegal.
These top 50 finalists will continue their journey in the competition, for a chance to become one of the 10 entrepreneurs to share from the pool of the $1.5 million grant grand prize.
The finalists come from 21 countries, including Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, Algeria, Zimbabwe, and Ghana and 18 sectors, including Agriculture, Fashion, ICT, Artificial Intelligence, and Education.
Among the top 50 finalists, were Nigerian Entrepreneurs, Kehinde Ayanleye of Stutern, Adeyinka Tekenah of Happy Coffee, Chinedu Azodoh of Metro Africa Xpress Inc., Faith Adesemowo of Social Lender, Ifeoluwa Olatayo of Soupah Farm-en-Market Limited, Oluwasoga Oni of MDaaS Global, and Olajide Ayebusis of Edusko Africa.
The CFDA Is Building New Digital Platform, Platform360
As the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) draws closer, it is likely that there will be few, if any, in-person shows or presentations. In response to this, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) is building a new digital platform, Runway360, to connect American designers and brands with media, retailers, and consumers.
“Think about when we centralised Fashion Week with the tents 25 years ago, this is similar to that, we are just creating this centralised hub,” said Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s President and CEO, during a Zoom presentation of the new ides.
The online platform is a one-stop-shop housing brand pages where users can find designer profiles, live streams, collection content, and pass notes. It will operate according to the NYFW calendar.
“It will really open access and democratic, ” Kolb said. “Whether you are doing a video or a photoshoot or VR – or whatever it is your budget or your ability to creatively produce is – our platform is meant to be plug-in.”
The platform is meant to function as a business tool that will have virtual showrooms to allow buyers to place orders and allow emerging designers to take pre-orders that would help them cover their costs of production. It will also serve as a platform to allow designers to gain data about what is being watched and liked.
Primark Launches UK In-Store Recycling Scheme
Primark has initiated a nation-wide recycling programme inviting customers to donate their pre-loved clothes, textiles, footwear, and bags from any brand to be “re-loved” via its In-Store Recycling Scheme.
Collection boxes are to be made available at their 190 stores across the UK ad all donated items will be recycled or repurposed with nothing going to a landfill. Profits from the scheme will go to UNICEF in support of its education program for vulnerable children around the world.
This new recycling scheme by Primark starts as recent research from the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) estimates that more than a third of the population have had a clear out of unwanted textiles and clothing while at home on lockdown.
Primark partnered with Yellow Octopus to implement its recycling scheme. Yellow Octopus is a recycling specialist which has a “no landfill” policy across the 21 countries it operates in, diverting 1 million garments from landfills per month. The company aims for as many donations as possible to be worn again, with the remainder being repurposed into new products such as insulation, toy stuffing and mattress fillers.
“We know people don’t always find it easy to recycle clothes, textiles, and shoes. And we know people have had big clear-outs during this lockdown”, said Kathrine Stewart, the Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Director of Primark. “Now is the perfect time to be launching our in-store recycling programme, making it convenient for customers to give a second life to items in their wardrobe that they no longer need. This will reduce waste going to landfill and help our customers to help the environment. With the profits going to UNICEF’s important childhood education programmes, we are also supporting our charity partner in their work.”
Italy-Based Designers Write to Luxury Fashion Executives to Boost Diversity in MFW
Italy-based black designers Stella Jean and Edward Buchanan have written letters to “advocate for a historic appeal to bring to the forefront, for the first time, the paradoxical taboo topic of race in Italy, and to support Black designers, who are still invisible in the business of Italian fashion.”
Their letters were written to Carlo Capasa, the President of Camera Nazionale Della Mode Italiana, and the institutions 14 executive members, including Miuccia Prada; Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci; and Serge Brunschwig, Chairman and CEO of Fendi, to name a few.
Stella Jean highlighted that while power brands make “performative gestures” to support the Black Lives Matter movement, they neglected to consider the condition of the Black minority in Italy, especially in their workforces at the executive and creative levels.
She further stated that of the 113 brands that are part of the Italian fashion chamber, only one is owned by a Black designer, herself.
“We would be most appreciative if CNMI’s executive board would provide an adequate response to those who are suffering in the fashion business throughout the territory, as a result of both socioeconomic marginalisation and true concern about the institutional retaliations and boycotts for breaking the silence,” Jean said, “I personally have experienced the latter. Just one of many examples of how trying to act inclusively can quickly get you excluded.”
Victoria Beckham Cuts Staff At Fashion Label
Victoria Beckham is set to cut staff at her fashion label by nearly a fifth which will result in a loss of around 20 jobs. This comes following the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on fashion and retail.
At the beginning of the lockdown, a decision to let go of 30 staff was met with backlash and was reversed 2 weeks later. Now, the designer has decided to cut about 20 staff due to redundancies.
The jobs will come from production roles at her dressmaking atelier in London. As consumer demands shrink and supply chains face pressure, the brand plans to reduce the number of items in each collection by 30 – 40 per cent.
In a statement, Beckham said, “It feels very relevant now to take things back to basics. It has fostered great energy and a real sense of creativity amongst the teams.”