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



Fashion

March 11th, 2015

Getting up close with…Responsify Africa – Fashion Africa Conference Speakers

In the lead up to our annual event Fashion Africa Conference 2015 we wanted to introduce you to a selection of our panellists who will be speaking at our conference. They all have an interesting story to tell and an amazing relationship with the continent and we felt that a short Q&A with them would give you a small snippet of all the exciting and rich conversation you will hear on the panels on the conference date – April 24th 2015.

Tied in with Fashion Revolution Day a day which remembers those who were affected by the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Savar, Bangladesh in 2013. April 24th therefore is a fitting day for us to hold the event to help raise awareness of the negatives that happen and the challenges faced, in the industry. Above all we want to make sure those 1100+ deaths will not be forgotten and to raise the point that this should never happen in Africa – that continent that we are all connected to and love dearly.

So have a read of our weekly Q&A’s, get familiar and then book your ticket here to attend our one-day event. With 35 speakers over 6 panels it is going to be amazing, and the following, upcoming interviews and the people we interview are a major part of the reason why.

First up we present Madeleine Rosberg and Stephanie Persson, two Swedish entrepreneurs, and their company Responsify which is proud to be the first sustainable textile and leather production house in Sub-Saharan Africa, with offices based in Ethiopia and Sweden.

AFG: Please give us a synopsis of what you do and your professional connection to African fashion.

Responsify: We are assisting international companies to do sustainable textile & leather business in Sub-Sahara Africa. Through introducing some of the worlds largest retailers and “bridging the gap” between Sub-Saharan Africa and the international community we are proud to be able to set Africa on the world map as a sustainable sourcing destination and the future textile & leather Mecca.

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AFG: In 5 words describe what Africa means to you.

Responsify: Beauty, simplicity, love, creativity, nature.

AFG: What in your opinion are the pros and cons of working with African suppliers and manufacturers?

Responsify: There are many both challenges and opportunities when it comes to producing in Africa. Lead time, efficiency, infrastructure, quality of raw material are some of the challenges.  On the other hand; good prices, access to raw material, tax incentives and being able to influence the suppliers in a sustainable way are some of the advantages.

AFG: Where do you see the future of Africa’s textile and fashion manufacturing industry going forward?

Responsify: The possibilities are endless. Many companies are looking for new production markets since Asia´s rising prices, lack of capacity and sustainability issues. Africa has the raw material, young and skilled population, energy sources, strategic location for export to Europe etc. The amount of both local and international investments are increasing rapidly so I think that Africa will gain many market shares within the next coming years.

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AFG: What would you advise to businesses who wish to enter the African continent for sourcing or manufacturing?

Responsify:

1. Africa is a continent and not a country – so make sure that you chose the right country for your business.

2. Do a risk assessment and learn about the local business climate before you start your operations.

3. Make sure to work on your network and create good personal relations. To have respect, to care and to always be polite & humble will take you far.

4. Lower your expectations in the beginning and build step by step

5. Have patience – and think long term

6. Make sure to have people on the ground and learn the culture where you are operating.

AFG: Why is a conference like Fashion Africa conference so important for our readers to attend?

Responsify: Africa is too often portrayed in a negative way. Too few people know about the opportunities the continent can offer. We will for sure see a lot more of African fashion and design on the catwalks and in the shops within a short time. The Fashion African Conference is an important conference to promote Africa and its’ beauty for the rest of the world.

Thank you Ladies!

You can find more about Responsify and all their contact details here: http://www.responsify.org/

 

Madeleine Rosberg of Responsify Africa will be speaking on the Panel 4A titled Source Africa and Navigating Value Chains, Logistics and Red Tape from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM on April 24th 2015.

Conference details can be found here: www.fashionafricaconference.com and tickets can be bought here: Eventbrite.

Early booking tickets end March 31st and seating is limited so book early to avoid disappointment!







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