The competition celebrates African fashion brands that will change how we produce, buy, use and recycle fashion and that encourage a more sustainable shift in consumer practices/Photo: Fashionomics Africa

AfDB, partners launch new fashion competition for African designers

Fashionomics Africa, an initiative of the African Development Bank, has launched its second online competition, offering $6,000 in cash prizes, mentoring, new branding packages and other support for winning African designers of sustainable and circular fashion.

Fashionomics Africa, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, Parsons School of Design, strategic consulting and communications agency BPCM, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, invite interested African fashion brands to apply to the sustainable fashion online competition.

Entrants must be pursuing environmentally friendly measures, sustainability, and circular economy actions to qualify. The designer or design team submitting the “best sustainable design” will win $3,000 along with other prizes. Two other competition finalists will take home $1,500 each, plus other support.

The competition celebrates African fashion brands that will change how we produce, buy, use and recycle fashion and that encourage a more sustainable shift in consumer practices.

“Sustainability is the present, not the distant or even the near future. It is where we are now, and it is vital that we open our eyes to what the fashion industry already has to offer. By embracing the industry’s existing resources, we are promoting circularity at the most fundamental level,” said Amel Hamza, Acting Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society at the African Development Bank.

“With the second edition of the Fashionomics Africa contest, the Bank aims to continue highlighting the ingenuity that African fashion designers consistently demonstrate through the strength of their culture and heritage,” she added.

The textile and fashion industry accounts for nearly 2% to 8% of global carbon emissions, the sector ranks as the world’s second-largest industrial polluter after the oil sector, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. However, this industry also provides important levels of employment, foreign exchange revenue, and products essential to human welfare.

The competition targets textile, apparel, and accessories entrepreneurs from Africa, aged 18 years or older, who have launched fashion businesses (up to a maximum of 50 employees), and whose sustainable designs have been produced within the last five years. Qualifying applicants will submit pictures of their products, detail their sustainable business model, and explain how their startup is environmentally friendly and innovative.

Examples of sustainability and circularity elements might include materials used, the design process, cleaner or greener production processes – including shipping methods or ways to reduce carbon footprint.

A five-person judging panel representing the African Development Bank and competition collaborators will announce the three finalists by 22 March 2022. The finalists’ entries will be posted on the Fashionomics Africa digital marketplace and mobile application (https://bit.ly/3BfEH4D) for public vote between 22 March 2022 and 7 April 2022. Polls close on 7 April at 23:59 GMT.

In addition to the cash prize, the winning fashion brand will receive a certificate and the opportunity to showcase its 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.

To learn more about the Fashionomics Africa online competition or to submit an entry, click here. Applications must be received by 1 March 2022 at 23:59 GMT.

Fashionomics Africa is an African Development Bank initiative increasing Africa’s participation in the global textile and fashion industry value chains. Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

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