Dutch fashion fabric producer Vlisco Group recently confirmed their partnership with Cotton Made in Africa (CmiA) and will be the initiative’s first partner to both produce and market its products to local consumers in Africa. Vlisco Group is a design house that develops, produces and exports colourful African print designs for the Western and Central African markets, and African consumers in large metropolitan centres such as New York, London and Paris.
Initially this will be a traditional sponsoring relationship and CmiA and Vlisco will share marketing and communication resources. For Vlisco Group, the demand for CmiA sustainable African cotton is crucial. Vlisco will be CmiA’s first partner to create a complete textile supply chain on the African continent. The company will do this through Vlisco Group brands Vlisco, designed and produced in The Netherlands, and its three brands Woodin, Uniwax and GTP designed and manufactured in Ghana and Ivory Coast. Each of these brands has its own style, brand identity and consumer target group. The designs of Vlisco Group have been an integral part of the culture of Western and Central Africa since 1846 where for women the colourful patterns and fabrics are as prestigious as any piece by an internationally renowned designer.
According to Jan van der Horst, Director of Corporate Affairs at Vlisco and responsible for CSR and sustainability:
“This cooperation fits with Vlisco Group’s policy to increase the use of locally sourced materials in its entire supply chain in the long term. Based on our local presence in the markets, where Cotton made in Africa is also active, we want to take it a step further, and approach smallholder farmers and show them how their cotton is sold on the African market through our products.”
This will make Vlisco the initiative’s first demand partner to not only purchase and process cotton directly on the African continent, but also market the finished products in its stores in Benin and Côte d‘Ivoire. CmiA and Vlisco Group plan to use this holistic approach to establish a complete textile chain in Africa.
his is an interesting relationship and one that does make great business sense and equally makes a statement too. We will be watching this one and its growth.