Style Wise | Ethical Fashion, Fair Trade, Sustainability

ETHICAL FASHION + THOUGHTFUL LIVING

#WakandaForever: 3 Ethical African Owned, African Made Clothing Brands

black panther style: ethical clothing african owned fit for wakanda

Black Panther was a victory on many fronts, from its groundbreaking POC representation to its strong female leads to its counter-cultural - but totally accurate - narrative that African nations have a lot to offer to the rest of the world (And in fact, we need them. Just look at the history of colonialism: Western countries have taken advantage of and exploited Africa's natural resources and its people for hundreds of years).

I'm not normally one for superhero movies, so the fight scenes weren't really my cup of tea, but I absolutely loved the imagery (and also, I'm kind of in love with Michael B. Jordan). 

The initial bird's eye view of Wakanda made me gasp with delight. I loved the futuristic buildings paired with more traditional African elements, like street vendors selling their artisan wares and people wearing widely varied representations of African textiles. And that's what this post is about: those beautiful African textiles.

But I didn't want to find just any fair trade company working in Africa, because I don't think sharing African goods from companies owned by white Westerners rings true to the moral of Black Panther. Instead, I crowd-sourced companies that are owned and run by African-born women (thanks for the recs, Twitter friends).

3 AFRICAN OWNED, AFRICAN MADE ETHICAL BRANDS TO GET THE WAKANDA LOOK

Studio 189

Co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Studio 189 is a Ghana and US-based clothing  and accessories line that works with artisans who specialize in traditional African artisan techniques, such as indigo-dying, batik, and kente weaving. Artisans are offered fair prices for their goods and Studio 189 helps set up educational programming. They also partner with the United Nations' ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative.

black panther style: ethical clothing african owned fit for wakanda

Omi Woods

Omi Woods celebrates founder Ashley Alexis McFarlane's Jamaican-Maroon-Ashanti heritage by sourcing eco-friendly, ethical clothing, jewelry, and accessories made with natural dyes with designs and techniques inspired by African culture.

black panther style: ethical clothing african owned fit for wakanda

TaSanni

Founded by Ethiopian-born childhood friends Fatsani Chikwana-Dogani and Tariro Mapuranga-Sibanda, TaSanni celebrates African craft tradition in hopes of bringing economic success to the artisan communities they work with. All items are produced with local fabric in Southern Africa.

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There are a plethora of ethical brands working in Africa right now and some are better than others. EDUN, though it wasn't founded by Africans, has helped put traditional African production on the map in the high fashion world. But given white Westerners' violent colonial past in much of Africa, we must be cautious when it comes to supporting brands that don't have a connection to the indigenous people of the countries where they operate. Supporting small scale, highly localized companies is one of the better ways to ensure high ethical standards.

black panther style: ethical clothing african owned fit for wakanda

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