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Published: 27 February 2021

By Andy Ross

Socially responsible textiles

As the world wakes up to the waste that the fashion and garment industries around the world create, new ideas are helping to make them more responsible. Africa is helping lead the way. 

Two schoolfriends,  Molly Keogh and Maryanne Mathias, founded Osei-Duro in 2009. The company is ethical, producing clothing that marries traditional Ghanaian design with contemporary style, making use of dyeing, hand-weaving, batik and other techniques. The most interesting thing about the organisation is that it is headquartered in Los Angeles, established to support the Ghanaian apparel industry and to celebrate traditional design. 

Johanna Bramble is a French weaver and designer who lives and works in Dakar, Senegal. Johanna's company makes cloths based on traditional Senegalese weaving whereby two people create the fabrics - a weaver and an assistant. 

Over in Mali, Le Ndomo is a social enterprise that creates employment opportunities for young people by training in the skills of natural dyeing (pictured above, courtesy of Le Ndomo) and making, agriculture and animal husbandry. The organisation functions as a traditional African family unit in which everyone works together for mutual benefit, learning new skills and supporting each other. 

GlobalYell is looking at these models for its own future. These ideas provide plenty of food for thought as the charity negotiates its way through the pandemic. Thank you to our readers who have sent these and other links in. They are always helpful, and it is interesting to see how others are using art and craft to support their communities.