In the vibrant heart of Kenyan ingenuity, a groundbreaking event is set to unfold, promising a week that transcends the ordinary realms of fashion. Welcome to Eco Fashion Week Kenya, a transformative experience conceived by the visionary Belinda Smetana, founder of Sustainable Fashion and Travel. This event, in collaboration with Cleanup Kenya, is not just about runway glamour; it’s a holistic celebration of sustainability, inclusivity, and a profound commitment to healing our planet.
A Visionary’s Dream
Belinda Smetana, the luminary behind Sustainable Fashion and Travel, envisions more than a fashion week; she dreams of a collective journey toward conscious living. Her brainchild, Eco Fashion Week Kenya, is a testament to her commitment to creating a transformative experience that leaves an indelible mark on Kenya’s fashion landscape.
As Belinda puts it, “Our vision is to be the first-ever Fashion Week in the world that focuses more on cleaning up textile waste by creating inclusive intergenerational activities that every human who wears clothes can relate to.”
Inclusivity Beyond Glamour
In a world where inclusivity often stops at diverse models on the runway, Eco Fashion Week Kenya takes a giant leap forward. For them, inclusivity extends beyond the glamour, encompassing intergenerational activities that involve everyone who wears clothes. This commitment to inclusivity goes hand in hand with their core belief that sustainable fashion should be for everyone, breaking traditional beauty standards both on and off the runway.
Belinda emphasizes, “We are not just working with fashion brands; we are including other industry leaders contributing to a better environment. Our transformative experience aims to inspire positive change, making sustainable fashion accessible to all.”
The Artisanal Prelude
The journey begins at The Artisanal Gallery, Nairobi, with a press briefing and networking day. The venue, known for its unique concept store, sets the stage for what promises to be a fashion week like no other. The welcome drink from official wine sponsors Le Decanter and gifts by JUA add a touch of celebration and community spirit to the event.
As we step into this artistic space, Belinda’s words resonate, “We want to create a Fashion Week where the power of fashion is harnessed to leave a positive imprint on our society and the planet.”
A Tapestry of Experiences
The week unfolds with diverse activities, each day bringing a new facet of sustainable fashion to the forefront. From eco-fashion workshops and the selection of winning pieces to mending, repair, and swap workshops, the event is a rich tapestry of experiences. The emphasis on education through seminars and discussions underlines a commitment to not just showcasing fashion but fostering a deeper understanding of sustainable living.
Julie Adhiambo, Founder and CEO of Duara Textiles, who is one of the featured designers of the Eco Fashion Week Kenya, adds her perspective, “Embracing Circular fashion systems including recycling and upcycling is crucial. Brands should embrace slow fashion, make quality apparel that will last for generations, and use sustainable and degradable materials.”
JUST FASHION DAY – Challenging Norms
One of the highlights is the “JUST Fashion Day,” a challenge presented by the JUST Fashion team through the Eyes of the Artisanal Gallery, AfroWema, and Seeds & Stories. Delight Fashion and Design School students are tasked with creating one piece each with the theme “No New Clothes.” This bold initiative aims to combat textile waste by using existing clothes that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Belinda expresses her confidence, “We are challenging designers, especially the students, to make a difference. The winning piece will be showcased and auctioned, supporting upcoming designers. It’s about avoiding waste and overproduction, aligning with our commitment to a sustainable fashion future.”
This addition emphasizes the pivotal role of student designers, making their contributions integral to the ethos of Eco Fashion Week Kenya.
An Evening of High Fashion and Responsibility
As the week progresses, the event moves to Lions Eco Resort & Spa for a night fashion show. Designers will showcase collections made from used materials, emphasizing the theme of “No New Clothes.” The emphasis on not purchasing new clothes for the event aligns with the ethos of discouraging overconsumption.
The week culminates in a beach cleanup day in Malindi, symbolizing the event’s commitment to actively contribute to environmental well-being.
A Collective Effort – Partnerships and Venues
Eco Fashion Week Kenya is not a solitary endeavor. It’s a collaborative effort with Cleanup Kenya, Delight Tailoring Fashion & Design School, Fashion Takes Action, Trashion Kenya and many more. The choice of venues, from The Artisanal Gallery to Lions Eco Resort & Spa, adds a layer of uniqueness to each event, creating an immersive experience for participants.
As Belinda emphasizes, “We are uniting Style, Sustainability, and inclusivity while disrupting the ‘Normal’ Fashion Week.”
The Power of Conscious Fashion Choices
As Julie Adhiambo, Founder and CEO of Duara Textiles, puts it, “Circular economy – reusing, recycling, and creating new materials and products from already existing materials hence reducing waste.” Julie’s dedication to sustainable materials and practices echoes the broader message of Eco Fashion Week Kenya.
In a world inundated with fast fashion, Eco Fashion Week Kenya emerges as a beacon of conscious choices, a celebration of slow fashion that values quality over quantity. It’s a movement that goes beyond trends, embracing the well-being of the planet and its people above all else.
Looking to the Future
As we step into the future of sustainable fashion, events like Eco Fashion Week Kenya play a pivotal role. The rising consciousness on the importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility is turning it into a norm rather than an exception. More brands are adopting circular fashion systems, becoming accountable and transparent in their product cycles.
Belinda envisions, “It will become the norm rather than the exception. More people will start embracing unique handcrafted artisanal products that are of high-quality finish.”
Embrace the Change
Eco Fashion Week Kenya is more than a fashion week; it’s a call to action. It challenges norms, encourages dialogue, and actively engages individuals in the journey toward sustainable living. Belinda Smetana’s vision extends beyond the glamour of the runway, aiming to weave a sustainable future, one thoughtful choice at a time.
As the fashion world gears up for this groundbreaking event, it’s not just about style; it’s about shaping a future where fashion and responsibility go hand in hand. So, mark your calendars for a week that promises not just runway spectacles but a transformative experience that resonates with the rhythm of a planet in need of healing.
Join the movement, embrace sustainability, and be a part of Eco Fashion Week Kenya – where fashion meets responsibility, and every choice makes a difference.