After careful consideration, six talented West African creatives have been chosen to participate in the new Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) Designer Accelerator (a flagship of the International Trade Centre – a joint agency of the United Nations and World Trade Organisation). Highlighting the programme’s commitment to African youth, sustainability and diversity, participants selected to enter the two-year programme which will begin in July 2021 are: Atelier V.O, Kente Gentlemen, Laurenceairline, Maöta Studio, Ohiri and Oudy K.
The new call to join the EFI Designer Accelerator – supported by the European Union – after two successful seasons of the programme, was directed to talent operating in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Kenya, Mali, and Uganda and for the first time includes both fashion designers as well as entrepreneurs making their mark on the continent in varied creative mediums. The selected brands this season include three ready-to-wear brands, a jewellery brand, a concept store and a textile designer.
The creatives will receive mentorship from a team of experts with extensive experience working in Africa, fashion and business development including EFI head & founder, Simone Cipriani, co-founder of United Arrows, Hirofumi Kurino and actress and humanitarian Dakore Egbuson-Akande. Topics covered through a series of masterclasses include: Compliance, SDGs, Labour Rights & Supply Chain, Collection Plan Development, Market Positioning, Digital Marketing & Sales and Legal Frameworks.
The selected finalists were placed into two groups depending on their specific needs and the operating time of their businesses. Group one consisting of Kente Gentlemen, Laurenceairline and Ohiri will receive targeted support, whilst the second group, made up of Atelier VO, Maöta Studio, and Oudy K, will receive business development guidance and increased mentorship to guide the creatives in establishing their businesses and solidifying their unique vision through the creative medium of their choice.
Media release submitted by Chimere Cisse. Images supplied. Cover image via Oudy K.
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Cover image via Oudy K.