On the 21st of March 2014, I experienced a groupie moment (well in the classiest sense). It was the day Simone Cipriani (Chief Technical Advisor of the United Nations’ International Trade Centre) kissed my hand! Something about a change maker who makes it their life goal to create employment for those in developing areas that makes my heart beat FAST. Simone is a man after my own heart: social enterprise and fashion, he had me.

 Gathered at The Nathan Club for ‘Visible in Conversation’ to discuss the role that the Ethical Fashion Initiative played in the creation of Karen Walker’s ‘Visible’ collection. It was a chance to understand the motive behind the collection and to learn about how the International Trade Center’s Poor Communities Trade Programme is using fashion as a vehicle out of poverty in one of it’s operational arms: The Ethical Fashion Initiative.

 “The Ethical Fashion Initiative connects the fashion business with artisans in Africa and Haiti. They provide work for marginalized people who have a strong desire to change their lives. They make it possible for the fashion world to embrace the skills of artisans in the developing world.

In everything it does, the Ethical Fashion Initiative develops local creativity, fosters predominantly female employment and empowerment, promotes gender equality to reduce extreme poverty and increase the export capacities of the regions in which it operates. It also satisfies the fashion world’s wish to be more fair.”

 Hearing Simone speak so passionately about the power of fashion, changing the pace of fashion and creating employment opportunities was fuel to my fire.

 Below are my favourite photos and glasses from the ‘Visible’ collection, which Karen Walker partnered with EFI to commission, screen-printed and beaded pouches from the Waithaka (Kenya) craftspeople.

 Find out more about The Ethical Fashion Initiative at http://www.intracen.org/default.aspx