Magazines are ‘stuck on the truck’ currently, as we say here in Namibia – a nation that is compelled to source so many of its consumer goods from South Africa and where, at the time of writing, cross-border imports have pretty much ceased to exist. The copy of British ‘Vogue’ I recently picked up off a very empty shelf at the store (my guilty-pleasure luxury in these trying times) was an issue from way back in April this year so it represented a sort of distorted lens through which to view the recent, pre-Covid past.
With a (fairly new, fairly young) Editor-in-Chief in Edward Enninful OBE, and refreshing insights into the future of the fashion industry, I wasn’t surprised to see that the publication has created a new role, that of Contributing Sustainability Editor, in order to focus on the ways in which designers and manufacturers will be meeting the challenge of waste in a world growing increasingly conscious of the costs of instant-gratification consumerism.
The ‘Sew Good’ project recently received an amazing donation of hunters’ camouflage clothing, which was the starting point for the creation of this one-off shopping bag.
This growing global awareness has repercussions for all producers – large and small, industrial and artisanal – who work with fabric, as people begin to reject the purchase of throwaway items of clothing (and other such goods) meant to be discarded after one season.
The Namibian craftswomen of ‘Sew Good’ are increasingly turning their hands to commissioned items that embrace this ethos. When we started out, we just used donated luxury furnishing fabric to make simple, upcycled patchwork shopping bags – intended to replace single-use plastic ones. Now, Amory and Julia, who head the project, are imagining and producing a much wider range of stylish items, including ones that use the tiniest scraps of pleather – cellphone covers, for example – as well as others that would not look out of place in an upmarket home-furnishing store.
Using tiny blocks of colourful scraps, we were able to produce this gorgeous throw for style maven and influencer, Ms Martina Pieper (https://www.instagram.com/styledby_martina/?utm_source=ig_embed)
This has led me to think about how we can conceptualise what we do as we progress to selling unique products online for specific customers. It’s also clear that we need to make a wider range of goods for ‘small money’ for events such as @finkensteinbushmarket so that younger customers can purchase our items and cash-strapped locals can still treat themselves to something sustainably-made and truly lovely.
“BUY it because it’s beautiful
VALUE it because it’s eco-friendly
CHERISH it because it uplifts Namibian families”