A prosperous fashion industry is one well-connected to regional government, key decision makers and ‘doers’. This collaborative link between industry and government helps to tackle challengers within an ever-changing landscape.
As an accredited Commonwealth organisation (click here) we have outstanding relationships with governments across the Commonwealth. This spirit of friendship and mutual commitment enables us to bring programmes into action across the Commonwealth with government support.
The CFC has been working with the Government of Kenya (Ministry of Industry) to establish an ‘Ad hoc’ group managed by the Strategic Fashion Development Consortium (SFDC) in Nairobi. Our aim is to bring about more conversations between stakeholders, retailers, manufactures, suppliers, financial and education institutions, designers and government departments with the outcome of creating a fashion council for Kenya called the Kenyan National Fashion Council (KNFC).
April 2017 marked the launch of the Nairobi International Fashion Festival (NIFF), bringing together fashion designers, retailers, buyers and media. The CFC’s network mentored and worked closely with the SFDC to bring about an annual national fashion event for promoting the business of fashion with a 5-year plan to further develop the industry’s capacity to showcase national designers to an international audience. A key outcome of that plan, is to have the KNFC as a members of the CFC.
The CFC went back to Nairobi, Kenya on the 18th November to form part of a round table discussion on forming a KNFC. This was a development partnership with the Ministry of Industry Trade and Cooperatives, the SFDC and with support from the Hivos Fund, based in Nairobi.
The round table discussion, attended by 40 plus people encouraged an open discussion and debate about the council’s mission and what should be the core pillars to develop the business of fashion in Kenya. Through consensus, those who attended the discussion formed an activation committee for the interim period.
Hivos said ‘The Kenya fashion sector is currently disjointed with different value chain players participating in their own silos without a united front. Businesses in the sector have experienced stunted growth due to limited capital, business skills gaps amongst entrepreneurs and lack of proper understanding of the market. Further to this, recent statistics indicate 2.2 million Medium and Small Enterprises (MSMEs) in the sector were closed in the last two years due to regulatory, financial and technical challenges.’
Hivos went on to say ‘With a resolve to address these growing challenges, Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, in partnership with the Strategic Design Consortium and the Commonwealth Fashion Council, organised a fashion round table on 20 November 2017 to activate a National Fashion Council for the prosperity of the Kenya fashion industry, globally and nationally.’
The KNFC with a dedicated committee will see its place confirmed for the up coming Commonwealth Fashion Industries Meeting taking place in London, England at the Commonwealth Summit 2018, week beginning 16th April.