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14 Ethical & Sustainable African Fashion Brands You Need To Know

These brands are doing the work to transform the fashion world's impact on the environment.

For years, the retail industry has grown exponentially without much care as to how this growth is impacting the environment. Some would argue it is one of the main perpetrators of climate change as fibers find their way into oceans and companies burn clothes so as not to discount them. More often than not the retail chain—manufacturing, sourcing, packaging and transportation—disregards its carbon footprint. Thus, the term "sustainable" serves as a buzzword that suggests the use of recyclable materials, ethical labor practices, and fair trade.

Brands in the industry, both large and small, are faced with a number of challenges, while trying to remain prominent. Where some have implemented the use of organic fabrics and ethically sourced packages as well as the education and empowerment of artisans through programs, others do not see the urgency in transforming.

Today, a number of consumers are opting for second-hand and eco-friendly clothing in an effort to fulfill their altruistic needs. In a number of African countries, unwanted and out-of-season clothes from the US and Europe find their way to merchants who stock them in bulk in markets.

The endeavors above are not cheap, but they are necessary in a world where extreme and unusual weather patterns continue to appear.

Below are the ethical and sustainable African fashion brands that are doing the work and caught our eye.

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Driving Forces: How Studio 189 Connects Women Across Borders | Presented by Uber

We met up with Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson, the women behind the label Studio 189, to see how Uber is helping grow their social enterprise.

Sponsored content from Uber

Driving Forces is a video series profiling young creative people who are empowering their communities. We've partnered with Uber to highlight the stories of influential women entrepreneurs whose work brings underrepresented voices to the forefront. Read more about how Uber is supporting women in entrepreneurship here.

Not too many fashion brands are built explicitly on the idea of interconnectedness. Studio 189, the label founded by Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson, is different. For one, it's a social enterprise that does more than just produce beautiful clothing. They also work with different groups on projects that use fashion to create positive change in the world.

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An African Minute: Sustainable Fashion From Ghana

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