Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has made headlines for her environmental campaigns. And now she’s taking it to the next level with a new line of handbags made by Kenyan artisans from recycled materials.
The Ethical Fashion Africa collection includes handbags and keyrings made from unlikely materials like flip-flops, old tent fabric and even bones.
Recycled fabrics and other materials are pieced together to create artful and creative patchwork designs, with embellishments made from recycled metal and bone for a couture flair.
The collection was created in partnership with the International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Programme, and hundreds of Kenyan artisans have been employed to create the unique accessories.
Westwood recently made a visit to Nairobi, where she met with the workers who are turning her vision into reality.
She said she was encouraged to see people honing new skills and developing creative passion.
Westwood hopes for many artisans to go on to start their own companies and train the next generation of skilled craftspeople.
The tagline of the Ethical Fashion Programme reads: “No charity, just work.” And the initiative aims to create clothing and lifestyle pieces in a way that benefits communities and has a smaller impact on the environment.
More than 7,000 people from all over the globe are employed through the program, and directors said the money they make allows many of their children to go to school for the first time.
The Ethical Fashion Africa collection was released earlier this summer and is available in stores and online now.