The African Fashion Foundation and The Lotte Accra have collaborated to create a project that aims to empower, equip and encourage young street females by pairing them up with some great talent in the fashion accessory and garment industry in West Africa for a skills exchange programme. With the support of the Adonai Child Development Foundation (ACDF) the aim is to present a collaborative new collection. The young street women (Kayayei) will be working with the designer’s to be trained in key sewing and production skills all whilst contributing to a collection that will be showcased internationally.
This project is a social impact venture to empower the Kayayei woman and to show a way that fashion can be used for good. This inaugural collection will kickstart an ongoing partnership with The Adonai Child Development Foundation and the Kayayei women to equip them with key skills and reintegrate them back into the community. In a recent report that included a focused group discussion with 36 Kayayei in Accra, participants stated they live wherever they can find somewhere to lay their heads and, in most cases, this is in open stations – making themselves susceptive to health and safety dangers. Teaching them a skill puts them in a better position to make a consistent and reliable income which will eventually get them off the streets. ACDF will be supporting the young girls in this process and helping them find safe accommodation. The final collections ‘Kayayei collection’ will be showcased and made available for purchase in The Lotte retail space in Accra following the presentations in Lagos, Dubai and New York.
The Kayayei Collection will consist of the following Designers:
Ophelia Crossland: The Ophelia Crossland brand is synonymous with elegance, sultry flair and extravagant drama! This household name in the fashion industry has made its mark as the go to brand for elaborate designs and styling. It was a step in the right direction when Ophelia Crossland, the creator of the brand was made the brand ambassador for Swarovski.
Velma’s Millinery & Accessories: Velma’s millinery work is a cut above the average! Think bold yet elegant, intricate detail yet comfortable, demure yet sophisticated think Velma’s headpieces, hats and fascinators. Once again Velma relies on her creative genius to combine various materials, shapes and styles to create fashion masterpieces guaranteed to turn heads.
Torlowei: Torlowei is an all-encompassing fashion house, based in Lagos, Nigeria - the first registered lingerie manufacturer in Nigeria. The brand’s aesthetic is based on the marriage of luxury materials with body-friendly silhouettes that flatter all men and women regardless of shape, size or skin tone. Furthermore, sustainability and ethical practices form the heart of our operations, through the use of recycled fibres, biodegradable packaging and the payment of living wages in comfortable working conditions.
Key Partners and their details are listed below:
African Fashion Foundation (AFF): African Fashion Foundation is an organization that empowers fashion designers from Africa and its diaspora to succeed in the global fashion industry and market. By providing designers with educational opportunities in partnership with established players in the fashion industry, African Fashion Foundation supports African designers’ professional success. Our vision is to see more successful African designers in the global fashion industry and luxury market
The Lotte: As a concept store, The Lotte is a centre for artistic expression, not only through uniquely curated merchandise, but also through signature customer experiences, installations and branded events. A distinctive positive voice representing high quality African goods and lifestyle for local and international consumption, and represents the different aspects of Neo-African development in taste, style and culture.
Adonai Child Development Foundation: Founded in 2016 by Mrs Marilyn Amponsah Annan (retired Executive Secretary of Ghana National Commission on Children – GNCC; which later became the Ghana Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, of which she was also a Director), The Adonai Child Development Foundation works with young Kayayei women, street children and those that have been victims of sex trafficking to reintegrate them back into society. The Foundation rescues these people who have often been subjected to many other forms of abuse and provides safe shelter for them as well as equipping them with vital skills to give them a better chance in life.