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UN and fashion industry team up to fight poverty

UN and fashion industry team up to fight poverty

The United Nations and the fashion industry are teaming up to fight poverty and foster sustainable development around the globe.
Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Italian Vogue and good will ambassador for Fashion 4 Development, said Thursday that Africa provided fertile ground for the fashion industry, with its long fashion history, wealth of raw materials and abundance of skilled workers.
Sozzani said Fashion 4 Development aims to "re-find and re-fund" the industry, pointing out that Ghana once had 44 textile industries employing 30,000 people, but today has only four textile industries employing 2,000 people, with a similar situation in Nigeria.
"We have to believe that Africa can do what Italy, China, Brazil and Romania have done," Sozzani said, referring to countries that have developed thriving textile and fashion industries. "It is only a problem of organization."
Toward that end, the group is working to reduce tariffs on threads and fabric, raise capital for new factories, train local people and open up distribution channels to global markets.
"The main idea is to build up a project where at the same time to you learn a job, you earn money," Sozzani says pointing out that many of the workers at existing projects in Nigeria, Ghana and Botswana are HIV positive and often the only earner for their families.
Fashion 4 Development originally found in 1996 by Bangladeshi model turned entrepreneur Bibi Russel and re-launched last year by the Italian government in conjunction with Evie Envangelou, co-founder and Global Chair of F4D.
Evangelou said Fashion for Development made a commitment to U.N. secretary-general's Every Woman Every Child initiative to mobilize the fashion industry to make commitments of support. It announced on Thursday new commitments from Edun, Ilaria Venturini Fendi, Alexandra Taylor collection and Fashion Designers Without Borders among others.
She did not provide, however, any figures or details on the commitments.
Evangelou also dismissed concerns that the fashion industry efforts would be particularly vulnerable in conflict-ravaged Africa.
"It all stems from economics, obviously wars come because of economics, so this is one of the things we're trying to implement to reverse," she said.


Updated : 2021-06-15 18:22 GMT+08:00