I might just be in love. ASOS Made in Kenya just did something fresh and funky and I am digging it.
Photo credit: Brandon Hickman
These illustrated shorts and shirt set are part of a new collection by ASOS Made in Kenya, which recently launched in collaboration with the charitable initiative clothing workshop SOKO Kenya. SOKO is a clothing manufacturing unit based in Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary in Kenya, set up in 2009 by Joanna Maiden whose vision it was to provide the fashion industry with a manufacturing unit with social and environmental issues at the heart of its business.
Part of the ASOS Eco Edit, formerly known as ‘The Green Room’ – the range sits within a niche area of the online retail giants’ offering and features clothing, accessories and beauty buys, sourced from across the globe for the eco-minded shopper. The ASOS Made in Kenya initiative collaborated with a local Kenyan primary school, asking children at the school to draw ‘what they see outside their window’ – these ideas were incorporated into collection as inspiration – from embroidered giraffes, elephants and the Kenyan landscape onto jersey sweats, structured short-suits and sweatshirts with matching track pants – designed by ASOS and made by SOKO Kenya with fair-trade principles. As a result of the success of initiatives like this one, under the ASOS Africa umbrella, SOKO Kenya has been able to employ a growing number of tailors, providing livelihoods for over 45 people in the Kasigau region, an area of high unemployment. One of the main reasons I love this collection is because it offers a credible counter argument to those who insist that ethical fashion can not be design-led and affordable (£25-£95), by creating fashion that proves the contrary. If we want more ethical design choices from mainstream suppliers, we have to put our money where our mouths are and support it (especially when the proceeds flow in a socially conscious direction).
Design aside, this range appeals when it comes to accessible price-points; like many of the pieces found in the ASOS Green Room, the Made in Kenya collection offers a broad range including the very affordable. I wore the look with a silk headscarf by Liberty London and white faux leather shoes from Public Desire, alongside the Ye Mingzi Cross Bangle Black Diamond Swarovski bracelet. Swarovski’s work patenting an ‘Advanced Crystal’ virtually lead-free formula, known in the fashion industry as the ‘cleaner, greener stone’, is well known, however when it comes to corporate social responsibility initiatives, these are less so. In particular the Swarvoski Foundation, through three core tenets – “Give. Support. Inspire” – focuses on fostering education, supporting health initiatives and protecting the environment. Founded in 2013 to honor the company’s founder Daniel Swarovski, the foundation – through scholarship programs for design students and work preserving of sites such as the San Giorgio, across to donating funds to Doctors Without Borders – works to support the pillars of culture and creativity, well-being and the preservation of natural resources.