Kenyan designers are turning to recycled or climate-friendly raw materials and limiting production in efforts to protect the environment.
Akoth Otieno, a knitwear designer, uses cotton and acrylic yarns mostly from Ahero and Homabay counties, and only stitches ‘made by order’ outfits.
“The fashion industry contributes highly to environmental hazards and when we control production, we can produce what is needed and avoid wastage,” Ms Otieno says.
The 28-year-old started crocheting in 2017 after going through a rough patch in life and needing a ‘distraction’.
Ms Otieno says her business started with a sale of one scarf and she recently knitted a wedding dress worth Sh72,000.
For, Ian Kaseka, another fashion designer, his role in the race to save the environment is through refurbishing old garments.
“These old clothes are mostly dumped so enlightening people that their old clothes could have a new look helps us to conserve the environment,” he said.
He founded his company, 1V1, nine years ago. He gives old clothes a new look by painting them.
“I believe that each garment has a story to tell. With this a client is willing to pay even Sh5,000 for their garment,” he adds.
Victoria Maimba, another designer, crafts jewellery by hand and sells them from Sh6,000 to Sh10,000 a piece.
The founder of Tiger Tail Twister says social media has opened an opportunity for sellers to reach global buyers who favour environment-friendly production and recycled materials if the local market is not responsive.
“Social media has ensured that one can access the international market easily hence no gatekeeping,” she said.