Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


August 23rd, 2020

An Untold African Fashion Story

“You have to be lucky to find the right ones and then stick with them”.

All month of August so far I have shared and discussed with those in the AFG community about sourcing in Africa. I want to help you to learn insights into this so you can get started.

This quote above was something that my guest from this weeks youtube interview said and I think it’s extremely fitting for the reality of setting up a fashion business in Africa and working with artisans and tailors.
She then went on to say that also you will only grow working with them so far as they can only do a specific amount of production.

Today I am bringing an interview with Susann Schweizer of Poplin Project shares insights on running a business in Ivory Coast where she works with Artisans creating textiles using traditional techniques

Swiss founder Susann describes this untold fashion story in Ivory Coast for our Fashion Africa Voices interview. She highlights how being unhappy working as a trained and experienced design professional in the fashion industry who loves textiles that she started to see the creativity disappear as things changed in the industry. She saw the industry become focused on bigger productions, smaller margins and marketing. There was nothing fun about it any more and she feels that this mindset has got even to the end consumer. Now nobody seems to care for the clothing anymore, like it has no value anymore.

This in many ways led her and caused her to explore the handmade economy of Ivory Coast and its textile industry. But she also shares the reality of getting started in this country where she worked with the artisans. She explains where you have to be lucky to find the right ones and when you do you must stick with them and grow with them. Yet she is aware now that you will only grow to a specific amount of production working with them. So then you either have to take on multiple tailors or artisans to do the same thing, or you have to change your set up

She never encountered the factory set-ups in Ivory Coast as seen in Nigeria, Ghana or Kenya for example, so she started with the “one-one tailor” and it was a long learning process at the beginning where she says everything that can go wrong, went wrong.

On the flip side her insights into textiles from the region continues to draw her and what may inspire any African Fashion Entrepreneur to also set up and start a business in Ivory Coast.

So do go over to our youtube channel and hear more insights from her.


You will also gain crucial INSIDER INSIGHTS of how batik and handwoven cloth can be a game changer for differentiating your African fashion business as breaks down what it is like to work IN IVORY COASTs TEXTILE INDUSTRY. Get ready to have your mind expanded over the possibilities, the challenges, cultural differences, to understand having the right long term attitude for starting a fashion business in Africa

Do note that every Thursday I upload a new video to our Youtube channel as I truly believe these video series are a great way to share more easy digestible content with you. I deliver series such as our Fashion Business in Africa training series as well as our FASHION AFRICA VOICES interviews with businesses doing work on the ground in Africa as well testimonials, and also share our event videos and more!

There is no other channel like this so do subscribe to stay updated every Thursday.

Hosted by myself Jacqueline Shaw Director of Africa Fashion Guide


Last note….Do you want to learn how to get your business in Africa started this month?






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