In The News | 20 October 2022

Garment worker abuse uncovered in Ethiopia, Shelflife scores pioneering Nike co-lab and Africa shines on the BoF 500

A note: SA Fashion Week starts today, and I'll be there! If you will too, please say hi. I'll be sourcing stories at the shows and at the trade show on Monday (and somewhat aggressively pushing as many people as possible to subscribe on the spot). I'm looking for insight into the return on investment designers and brands get from participating considering SAFW's unique focus on access to market, and for any interesting approaches to solving common problems.


Fred Galley for BoF | Sourced

The continent shines on the updated BoF 500, with 7 industry leaders added to the influence index this year:

They join Africans like Lisa Folawiyo, Omoyemi Akerele and Adrian Joffe on the now 1,193-member list.

[A few others from Egypt, Senegal and Sierra Leone who joined the list in 2022 aren't included above as they work outside African fashion's ecosystem.]

Fashionomics Africa's accelerator & incubator programs for African Fashion, Textile, Apparel and Accessories entrepreneurs and businesses are taking applications until the 23rd of October.

The Hawassa Industrial Park was supposed to make Ethiopia a new global supply chain link for Western apparel. The idea was to leverage duty-free access for its exports through America's African Growth and Opportunity Act. Ethiopia was disqualified by the act's terms in late 2021 for alleged human rights abuses, and an investigation into the industrial park has revealed a culture of sexual coercion, abuse of power, and without an enforced minimum wage policy, negligible pay.

Birimian Ventures has announced the incoming 2022 designer cohort for their accelerator program, run in collaboration with IFM.

Paul Collier asks and answers how developed markets with an abundance of capital and the African continent's eager entrepreneurs and abundance of unemployed youth might come together for Africa's good.

Nigerian brand Nkwo took home the Bicester Collection Award for Emerging Designers at the CNMI Sustainable Fashion Awards in Italy.

South Africa

The Jordan x Shelflife range will be available at Shelflife in store on 20 October in Cape Town and Johannesburg and online from 21 October. In addition to the sneakers, retailing at R3,899, the Jordan x Shelflife range includes a TEAM ONLY range of clothing. The range will be distributed globally through Jordan’s top tier neighbourhood boutique partners and the Nike SNKRS app globally in October 2022.

Shelflife lands Nike's first African Co-Lab

After being invited to pitch, 16-year-old South African sneaker outlet Shelflife won one of 3 coveted spots for the 'International Flight Club' pack, a celebration of Jordan fans in underrepresented markets. The JORDAN X SHELFLIFE collection, called TEAM ONLY, has been in development for 2 years. It includes a Jordan 2 style with the Shelflife team's signatures on the inner sole and an apparel range they co-designed.

“We pretty much had free range on the colours and materials we wanted to work with. We came up with the concept of focusing on the Shelflife team that makes it happen; to capture the essence of the team who show up each day to make sure the product gets to market,” says Nick Herbert, Founder and Creative Director of Shelflife.

The Jordan Brand was born with the release of the Air Jordan Sneaker in 1985 with basketball legend Michael Jordan. 37 years later, it earns $3 million every five hours for Nike. [Press release, Letterhead]

Cape Union Mart joins South Africa's clothing retail growth race with a design studio it plans to use to get to majority local manufacture by 2028, and a fully sponsored, SETA-accredited accelerator programme for technical garment making skills at the CTFC's Fashion Institute of Garment Technology.

Johannesburg-based Creative Director Bee Diamondhead brought 13 multidisciplinary African artists — including 2 fashion designers — to the Standard Bank Gallery in the We Are Culture exhibition.

Reebok collaborates with Nao Serati brand on a limited edition pride month collection, the latest in the recent stream of global sportswear/SA designer collaborations.

A R300m SMME Crisis Partnership Fund has been set up by the Gauteng provincial government, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the SA SME Fund. Its goal is to provide access to capital for the portion of the 2 million small businesses in South Africa that are locked out of the banking sector's options with a special focus on economic inclusion for townships and their entrepreneurs. SME Fund principal Claudia Manning says the fund is sector agnostic, but Daily Maverick's coverage of the announcement reveals the actions taken so far weigh heaviest in housing and construction.

Woolworths announces a minimum wage increase for store workers and appoints Brian Mtongana to Executive Creative Director role.

The Folklore asks how sustainable practice can be better folded into the industry's talent pipelines, starting with fashion students.

TFG bought Tesla powerwalls (reportedly approx. R150k a pop) to mitigate loadshedding losses and minimise power bills when the grid's actually working. The purchase makes the group Tesla's biggest South African customer.


Elsewhere, Pharrell launches JOOPITER platform to auction off 20 years of pop culture history from his and others' personal collections, SHEIN catches fire in new undercover report on factory conditions and pay, Tim Noakes discusses the evolution of the 'neural fever dream' that is the modern fashion film, the industry rethinks fashion's approach to impact data and its discussion, and Fashion Values launches a global call out for change-making products, services & systems bringing innovation to fashion design, media and/or tech.

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