AND

AND identifies, hosts and incubates budding African fashion entrepreneurs instilling principles of ethical production.

The problem we aim to solve:

Fast fashion is a sickeningly exploitative game with artisans earning almost nothing for their toil. As a result, African fashion entrepreneurs face huge challenges in bringing competitive product to market as they compete with one another, big business and Chinese imports. s

The solution our project offers:

By cultivating a network of collaborators and making key investments for aggregated benefit AND will provide its community of African fashion entrepreneurs with the resources, guidance and assistance to develop their brands while promoting ethical production, shared equity and inclusive growth.

The impact our project had so far:

We have developed two self-sufficient brands, Bouban and Malume, incorporating ethical production principles.

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Who is behind this project?

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About the project

African fashion, reinvented

AND who are we ?

AND is the next phase in our journey on the way to creating a self-sufficient, socially innovative fashion ecosystem designed to bring respect back to the people who make clothes while enabling Africa’s beautifully talented fashion entrepreneurs to earn a decent income in the cut-throat, horrifically exploitative world of global fashion. The initiative grew out of our fashion label, Malume, which was created in response to the dire living and working conditions experienced by many African tailors who have migrated to the densely populated, impoverished, crime ridden and yet vibrantly Afro-cosmopolitan communities of inner-city Johannesburg. The rise of a cost-focused, Asian-centered, global textiles has resulted in the effective collapse of the African fashion industry, leaving scores of exuberantly talented craftsmen either unemployed or grossly unpaid and undervalued. Simultaneously, people have become accustomed to fast-fashion consumption which is environmentally destructive and has forgotten that at the heart of every garment is a human being.

Malume, which means ‘uncle’ in Zulu, identified inefficiencies in the market dynamics of sole-proprietor hand-made tailoring in inner-city Johannesburg. In areas such as Hillbrow scores of tailors from across Africa compete with each other producing and selling homogeneous product made with limited machinery to cash-strapped consumers. This hyper-competitive dynamic, which we term the ‘tomato seller phenomenon,’ squeezes the tailor’s margins forcing them into impoverished hand-to-mouth subsistence living where investments into growth are impossible. Malume identified an opportunity to address the plight of African artisans by leveraging these inefficiencies while incorporating the principles of social entrepreneurship. We created Malume as a means for these tailors to put their talent to work in a cooperative system making designed, top quality, ready-to-ware garments for higher LSM markets where sustainable margins can be achieved . Through an innovative network production model Malume has been able to keep its costs down while promoting revenue and equity share principles which ensure that its tailors, as owners, are the primary beneficiary of the brand’s success.

Now in its second year of operation Malume, run as a side project alongside its sister label Bouban, has been able to remain financially robust with minimal investment. We have provided full-time, inclusive, employment for one tailor and improved income for other sole proprietors.

However, through this experiment we have come to identify a number of hurdles faced by SMME African fashion brands seeking to grow and scale. Without the financial clout of big-business growth necessities such as key investments in machinery, marketing, design, business incubation and distribution are difficult to achieve for fledgling fashion businesses. As we recognize commonality in these difficulties among fashion entrepreneurs Malume is now collaborating to create AND as a business to empower SMME African fashion entrepreneurs. Designed to aggregate the key functions required for growth and to host and incubate a collective of African fashion brands AND is becoming a business for African entrepreneurs in the same way that Malume aims to become a business for African tailors.

We understand that intelligent cooperation, resource sharing and communal respect are powerful tools to achieve economic efficiency and collective growth.

In a little over a month our network has already grown to include five fashion sole proprietors who are being hosted, incubated and connected to a powerful community of recognized designers and entrepreneurs ready to lend their sweat and knowledge to crack abusive fashion. Our community website is in design and we have a lineup of all-African, finely crafted, fashion collaborations in the winter pipe-line as we position ourselves to become the vanguard of ethical fashion in Johannesburg, then Africa.

Malume's eat, sleep, play shorts on show
Chilling in Bouban

Project activity

Emil Medina was accepted for a need
Branding

We rely on a network of contributing designers for our branding but there is always more that needs doing. Alongside hos…

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Graphic Design

AND is a collaborative system which means we function to link talented designers and artists with economically disenfran…

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Malc0lm Rees just created a new need
Fundraising

We are looking to design AND as a maximum impact job creation network. Naturally there are a number of investment hurdle…

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Malc0lm Rees just created a new need
Branding

We rely on a network of contributing designers for our branding but there is always more that needs doing. Alongside hos…

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Malc0lm Rees just created a new need
Web Development

We have some amazing content coming through from our collaborators including images and video and we need a place to hos…

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Graphic Design
Fundraising
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