Eco-friendly and ethical fashion brands in Nigeria have taken centre stage over time. This is possible due to the evolution of sustainable fashion in Africa. With increasing knowledge of the effects of textile production on climate change and the environment, manufacturers and consumers have chosen to take steps to mitigate the negative impacts of these activities.
Over the years, a number of ethical and eco-friendly brands have sprung up and are helping to foster change throughout the fashion space in Nigeria and in Africa. The innovative nature of these brands is helping to pave the way for a beautiful, sustainable and safe future for emerging Nigerian fashion designers.
Through innovative methods in production, distribution and marketing, these brands are helping to create a safer and more sustainable fashion landscape for not just the consumers alone but for the environment.
In a time when the world is finally giving attention to the menace of climate change, these brands are committed to the task of building more environmentally and socially ethical business models.
For sustainable fashion models that are ethical and eco-friendly, here are some Nigerian fashion brands that are at the forefront.
First on the list of eco-friendly and ethical fashion brands in Nigeria is Kiki Kamanu. Kiki Kamanu; a Nigerian born to an Igbo father and a Bosnian mother runs this brand. It started with her love for fashion at an early stage when she began by reinventing her twin sister’s clothes.
Kamanu’s dynamic pieces are embellished with a mix of formality and quirkiness and are available for both men and women. Due to her eccentric designs she has been hailed as the Vivienne Westwood of Nigerian fashion.
Kiki has been at the forefront of advocating for fair trade and sustainable fashion models. She currently resides in Lagos after resigning from corporate America. She creates and locally manufactures all her clothes from her Lagos base. Commited to sustainable practices, she oversees a training program teaching Nigerian youths the nitty-gritty of the fashion industry.
This is another eponymous brand on the list of ethical and eco-friendly brands in Nigeria. Founded by Wanger Ayu; a lawyer, the brand designs women’s wear for the modern African woman. The fashion label has a group of Nigerian artisans; trained by the brand that designs and produces the brand’s pieces. One distinctive feature which makes the Wanger Ayu label instantly noticeable is the commitment to maintaining a delicate balance between structure and femininity.
Due to the brand’s distinct creations, the Wanger Ayu label has an admirable number of celebrity fans. Some are Eku Edewor, Kate Henshaw, and Keturah King. Also, Chimamanda Ngozie; an award-winning author recently endorsed the brand.
Kinabuti is another label on the list of ethical and eco-friendly brands in Nigeria that has done very well in maintaining sustainable practices. The brand started in 2010 after Caterina Bortolussi and Francesca Rosset were inspired by a long-term vision for the fashion industry in Nigeria and Africa at large.
A combination of exquisite African textile and Italian designs to create an Afro-urban style is their signature design. As part of the brand’s effort to ensure sustainable practices, its ethical business models centre on inclusive development. This development aims at empowering women and young people to achieve results that foster positive and meaningful social change.
The Kinabuti model, which uses African fabrics to create Italian designs commits to training and empowering women and youths from underprivileged communities. A 10% of the sale price of Kinabuti pieces goes into the Kinabuti Fashion Initiative (KFI) to enhance the brand’s charity. Supporting the work of rising African in the fashion space and uplifting the works of the next generation of creatives are also two areas the brand is committed to.
LISA FOLAWIYO STUDIO
This is also an eponymous brand on the list of ethical and eco-friendly brands in Nigeria. Lisa Folawiyo Studio is a women’s wear brand. This brand is the first African fashion label to use the Ankara fabric with modern tailoring techniques and sequin trim.
The brand uses locally sourced textiles to run designs. Also, the beautiful and intricate beadwork is done by a workforce of female Nigerian craftsmen.
Ekwerike Chukwuma started Wuman in 2013 after falling in love with the female form in his undergraduate days. The contemporary African fashion-art brand designs both women’s wear/menswear. Interestingly, it commits to the unification of culture, heritage and African art with cross-disciplinary affinities to anatomy, poetry and architecture etc.
Garments at Wuman are storytellers. Also, they are designed within moments peculiar to Chukwuma and the times.
Nkwo Onwuka runs this brand. As part of its commitment to sustainable practices, the eponymous brand aims at reducing waste. This has inspired the creation of a new African fabric called DAKALA CLOTH. As far as resource conservation is concerned in the quest for Nigeria’s sustainable fashion model, Nkwo is arguably a pioneer.
Maryanne Matthias and Molly Keogh, established this brand in 2011. Using vintage methods like West African batik, wood carving, botanical dyeing, block printing, hand painting and a host of others, Osei-Duro pieces are hand-dyed.
Located in the city of Lagos, this ethical and eco-friendly brand creates Nigerian-made, custom and ready-to-wear designs. Shop Ayora relies majorly on Adire in making their clothes. As part of its effort to maintain sustainable practices, Shop Ayora commits to reducing its carbon footprint by providing sustainable fashion pieces that can stand the test of time.
Peridot is an ethical and eco-friendly brand in Nigeria that makes pieces that have distinct prints and patterns. It blends these patterns with traditional Nigerian designs such as Kaftans and Ankara fabrics. Minimalist ready-to-wear and timeless premium designs made for the stylish woman are two of this label’s key focus.
MELIA BY JADE
Melia By Jade combines Adire, batik, tie-dye and Kampala to design ready-to-wear female clothing. As a clothing brand, its core philosophy is the incorporation of old vintage art into contemporary fashion pieces for the modern woman.
This is another ethical and eco-friendly brand located in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. Nyosi focuses on creating designs that aesthetically complement the everyday Nigerian woman. The label uses a number of materials, including tie-dye to make wearable, casual yet stylish designs.
The philosophy behind this brand is that the death of fabric is as important as its birth. Labake Anyebe is the founder of this label. The label uses an environmentalist approach in its effort to maintain sustainable practices in the fashion space. The label also commits to enhancing the growth of cultural heritage norms in the process of creating youthful alluring designs and accessories ethically.
As a fashion label on the list of ethical and eco-friendly brands in Nigeria, Elixiay as part of its commitment to maintaining sustainable practices creates beautiful pieces with handmade and recyclable crochet methods. Elyon Adede who is the founder of this brand believes in using the brand to make a positive impact considering the effect climate change is having on communities. The brand relies solely on sourced yarn and pays their workers as at when due.
This is another brand that uses sustainable techniques and practices in creating beautiful pieces. Founder Paul Nwadiukwu uses the tool of up-cycling headstock garments and fabrics to make quality pieces. The Japanese term WABI SABI which means a concept of things whose beauty stems from age is the origin of the name SABI MODE.
Though established in Cotonou, Benin Republic on April 16, 2016, by Cynthia Maddona Orji, this is a Nigerian fashion brand. As part of the label’s commitment to sustainability in fashion, it relies on up-cycling in order to reduce the number of materials buried in landfills. The brand is commited to empowering women with skills and ensuring people they work with are adequately remunerated.
At this juncture, it is important to point out the fact that this list of ethical and eco-friendly brands in Nigeria is not in any way exhaustive. Other Nigerian brands which we may not be able to mention here are also doing a good job as far as maintaining sustainable practices in fashion is concerned.
However, the brands listed have done remarkably well over the last number of years and have earned their spots on the list. As consumers, we can only help them to keep up the efforts they are already putting in by patronizing them. All of these brands have an online presence and can be accessed via their official social media and e-commerce platforms. By wearing the right kind of clothing, we can help fight climate change.