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African entrepreneurs called to enter sustainable fashion competition

The African Development Bank's Fashionomics Africa initiative has launched a competition to support designers of sustainable and circular fashion. The contest invites African fashion brands pursuing environmentally friendly measures, sustainability and circular economy actions to participate.
African entrepreneurs called to enter sustainable fashion competition

Fashionomics Africa is an initiative of the African Development Bank to increase Africa’s participation in the global textile and fashion industry value chains. The Fashionomics Africa online competition aims to celebrate African fashion brands that will change how we produce, buy, use and recycle fashion and that encourage a more sustainable change in consumer behaviour.

It's open to entrepreneurs from Africa, aged 18 years or older, who have launched fashion businesses (with a maximum of 50 employees), and whose sustainable designs have been produced within the last five years. Applicants will need to submit pictures of their products, detail their sustainable business model and explain how their startup is environmentally friendly and innovative.

A four-person judging panel representing the African Development Bank and the other competition collaborators – the United Nations Environment Programme, Parsons School of Design and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation – will choose three finalists by 22 January 2021. The public will select the winner via an online vote on the Fashionomics Africa digital marketplace and mobile application between 25 January and 8 February 2021, 23:59 GMT.

The 'best sustainable design will win a $2,000 cash prize. In addition, the winning fashion entrepreneur will receive a certificate and the opportunity to showcase their creation by taking part in online events and sharing insights on key sustainability challenges facing the industry. The winner will have access to a network of media insiders and industry experts, and receive mentoring and networking opportunities from competition collaborators.

The application deadline is 31 December 2020 at 23:59 GMT.

Take, make, dispose

The textile and fashion industry accounts for nearly 10% of global carbon emissions, ranking as the world’s second-largest industrial polluter, after the oil sector, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. However, the industry provides high levels of employment, foreign exchange revenue and products essential to human welfare.

Around the world, a ‘take-make-dispose’ model of consumption of items made from finite resources is giving way to a more circular and inclusive fashion value chain, which according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, designs out waste and pollution, keeps products and materials in use, as well as regenerates natural systems.

Competition organisers said that examples of sustainability and circularity elements might include materials used, the design process, and greener production processes – including shipping methods or ways to reduce carbon footprint.

"Sustainability is at the heart of our work with Fashionomics Africa. The first edition of the Fashionomics Africa competition is an excellent opportunity for the bank to showcase the immense talent and creativity of African fashion designers striving for a more circular fashion industry and economy, while remaining true to their heritage," said Vanessa Moungar, the bank’s director for Gender, Women and Civil Society.

To learn more about the Fashionomics Africa online competition and to submit an entry, click here.
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