The Value Added in Africa project works with CmiA (Cotton made in Africa) certified cotton producers

The Value Added in Africa project works with CmiA (Cotton made in Africa) certified cotton producers

The viability of a sustainable end-to-end cotton supply chain in the East Africa region has been demonstrated by three manufacturers who have produced a range of export-ready garments made from locally-sourced materials.

The three companies – Fine Spinners, Alpha Knits and Kiboko – are part of the Value Added in Africa (VAA) project, which aims to build sustainable channels to international markets for African-made retail-ready products. This, in turn, is funded by the TradeMark East Africa Challenge Fund (TRAC) promoting cross-border trade in East Africa.

They have been working for the past 12 months with the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF) to establish export ready sustainable cotton supply chains across the region, and demonstrate what can be sourced out of East Africa in terms of supply chain, sustainability and ethics, and product types.

Fine Spinners in Uganda works with CmiA (Cotton made in Africa) certified cotton producers in the country to spin, knit and dye yarns and jersey fabrics across a number of weights and constructions. These fabrics and yarns are being supplied into several garment factories across the region to be made into a range of export standard finished garments.

Fine Fashions in Kenya (a sister company to Fine Spinners) has developed a range of fashion-led jersey pieces demonstrating its stitching capabilities and its understanding of European fashion.

And knitwear specialist Alpha Knits in Kenya has used the CmiA yarns spun at Fine Spinners to create a range of knitwear pieces across a number of gauges showcasing wardrobe staples and fashion-forward pieces.

Kiboko, also based in Kenya, has used jersey and traditional woven Kikoy fabrics from Fine Spinners to create a designer range of kidswear and home ware using bespoke hand embellishments.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities that this project with TRAC and ACTIF highlights,” explains Abi Rushton, head of fashion sourcing at VAA.

“East Africa as a sourcing region is not well known by European buyers and this project really highlights the product capabilities and sustainability achievable in the region.

“Requirements of quality and delivery are now coupled with those of transparency and sustainability: we have been able to demonstrate that all of these concerns can be met in East Africa and through our project partners a range of fashion led export ready garments can easily be sourced at scale.”

VAA will be hosting Fine Spinners, Alpha Knits and Kiboko at this week’s Origin Africa event (21-23 October), taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.