Not Just A Fashion Blog

Sunday, 22 April 2018

ASOS MADE IN KENYA: CULTURAL APPRECIATION








[ PHOTOGRAPHY: ASOS ]

The ASOS Made in Kenya collection is produced in partnership with SOKO Kenya and employs local seamstresses to create beautiful garments inspired by the Kenyan landscape. The organisation offers education and training to the employees as well as putting money back into the wider community which funds things, such as eye care, for local people. The brand has just released its latest collection for S/S 18 and has been celebrated by Vogue as a brand built on cultural appreciation, not appropriation. You can read the article here. I found the comparison to other brands inspired by Africa and their cultural appropriation, compared to Made in Kenya's approach, enlightening. The article pointed out that the difference is that the patterns have not been copied from traditional tribal prints or designs and that they have instead been inspired by the beauty of the location and focuses more on the colourful culture. Furthermore some of the patterns and motifs have been designed by local school children. I believe the collection is a celebration of Kenya. As well as avoiding cultural appropriation through design, the organisation is based on an ethical system and respects the country that it takes its inspiration from.

I believe as a storyteller I can learn a lot from this thoughtful approach to fashion and consider whether I could be potentially appropriating something through my communication to consumers and then work to divert my story in a different and more respectful direction.

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Emily
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