The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall discover African fashion – KT PRESS

Prince of Wales Charles and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla got a taste of African and European fashion at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali yesterday.

This colorful event is an opportunity to showcase local and Commonwealth fashion, accessories and interior designers.

Local designers in the show include Haute Baso, Sonia Mugabo, Inzuki, Rwanda Clothing, Uzi Collection, Izubaa and Amike.

International brands include Pichulik from South Africa, Kenyan designers Kiko Romeo, Amu Clothing, Jamaican designers Keneea Linton George, Pepper Row and Dye Lab from Nigeria, Larry Jay from Ghana and British designers Georgia Hardinge and Maximilian Raynor.

At the CHOGM Business of Sustainable Fashion, attendees and fashion influencers went beyond the glamor of fashion and designers showcasing their talent, to engage in a debate about finding ways to move from pleasure to enjoying fashion to become a source of income, climate change resilience and as a sustainable career path for businesses.

Precious Moloi- Motsepe, the Managing Director of Africa Fashion International, called for the need to collaborate to realize the potential of African fashion, especially considering that most of the raw materials for fashion come from Africa, but that the end products are either expensive or without any benefit to the hands behind.

“We can and must promote the empowerment of women and young people in African fashion to ensure that all who work in the sector earn a decent living and work in acceptable conditions,” said Moloi-Motsepe.

“Perhaps the most important thing is that we work together, that we find collaborative opportunities that allow us to realize the potential of African fashion,” he said.

Although Africa’s textile and fashion industry holds immense potential for economic transformation, according to some economists, the industry’s continent-wide retail sales are worth around $1.3 trillion.

However, organizations like the United Nations Environment Program and climate change researchers say global industry is also a key contributor to global warming, accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions.

While in the UK, the fashion industry has transformed to meet global challenges such as climate change and environmental protection by using recyclable materials, according to Caroline Rush, chief executive of British Fashion Council, in Jamaica and the Caribbean, the situation is exactly what Moloi-Motsepe wanted to see changed.

Keneea Linton-George, owner of Keneea Linton Boutique and representative of the Jamaican Fashion Designers Guild, said the Caribbean is still grappling with sustainability, especially in production, grappling between the choices to produce locally or to outsource production to reach global markets.

“For us, we mainly look to policy makers for some of the policies that have really set us back. So you see where we are very involved in the production of raw materials, but in terms of adding value, we do not benefit from it,” said Linton-George.

As the Caribbean struggles with production and manufacturing, Tamara Cincik, CEO of Fashion Roundtable UK, said there is too much fashion production in the West and around the world and it needs to be revisited and the wheel reinvented to have meaningful fashion for consumers.

We overproduce and waste at the same time. We really have to revisit that and almost go back to basics to understand the new vision because if you can do a little bit of this and that, but the whole industry has to change,” Cincik said.

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