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


December 31st, 2019

Make 2020 Your African Decade – My 10 year Story

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Written by: Jacqueline Shaw

Can you believe just ten years ago in the September of 2009 was when I started my Masters degree in Ethical Fashion from which all you see has stemmed from. That masters degree literally birthed my business Africa Fashion Guide that started as a basic free wordpress blog in 2010.

I didn’t know what the heck I was doing haha!

I had just received sponsorship from my job at Puma who accepted to fund my Masters and I was working four days a week as a Designer also bringing my increasing. knowledge on ethical fashion to the company AND I focused on the full supply chain of Africa’s fashion and textile industry.

It was a great time to be at Puma under CEO Jochen Zeitz who did a lot of work in Africa, and supported African football teams, had a museum gallery in South Africa, had conservation land in Kenya and backed an amazing factory there who made their famous slogan tee shirts.

Everything was in alignment

Though my window for growth in my role I felt was stumped I never got a promotion but the doors God opened for me with the sponsorship for the degree and the following open doors contacts and sheer hard work has allowed me to be one of the leading voices and a pioneer in the field of ethical fashion fashion in Africa and Africa’s manufacturing industry.

During the last decade I moved to Germany to work for C&A as their swimwear designer and became an ambassador again for their sustainability department.

In truth those 3.5 years living and working in Germany were the TOUGHEST ever. Not to be living away as I’ve lived and worked abroad two times prior to that but that season and the challenges I went through were extreme.

But it never broke me

Though yes it weakened me

I now realise that it was a season of pruning and to force me to push out my baby full time and it is a big baby y’all!

Getting married in that season and changing my name was significant to represent change in me and change of seasons.

The pros and successes of the decade has seen me take a collection down the catwalk during London Fashion Week;

Seen me speak at high end locations from the House of Lords to the European Commission;

Seen me publish two pioneering books the first of their kind that became sold at the Tate, Foyles and V&A shop;

Delivered trainings at London College of Fashion through to FIT NYC to a packed our lecture theatre;

Given talks on random places like the London Eye!;

Set up the first sourcing trips of its like to Ghana and Kenya;

Secured support and partnerships from the British Council to C&A Foundation;

Been interviewed live on BBC Africa, BBC Womenshour; Al Jazeera; and featured in WWD, Drapers Record, Vogue Italia and Pride Magazine as well as received accolades from Guardian newspaper, New African Woman, Linkedin and AfDB Fashionomics project

I have sat in rooms and shook hands with presidents and Hollywood celebrities followed by lavish lunches.

**Can you believe Boris Kodjoe was on the cards to speak at my 2019 event too! Not many know this one! Why he didn’t I’ll explain another time.

And I have sat with the most humblest people in poverty stricken situations but with hearts of gold

The extremes of my experiences I do not take lightly. This only urges me on to do more.

And this is all just the tip of the iceberg

Personally and professionally I have fought some battles

I have wrestled some huge challenges

I have been in the ring with institutional giants and slayed them like playing a round of Streetfighter on the Sony Megadrive or the Super Nintendo (those who know know)

I have destroyed some key demons with my bare hands and Gods grace alone and the power of my sisters prayer.

I have lost loved ones to death, I have lost friends to changing seasons.

I have gained new friends and gained a lifelong lover and partner

And you know what… I wouldn’t change the last decade for anything

Looking back at this last year of this decade seeing how I have had the chance to sit on the most gorgeous beaches in the luxury location of Maldives for my 40th birthday, to have had holidays with old friends and family and to share memories with new friends has been the most joyous. This i value more than anything these days.

This decade has ended well.

I’ve made it!

And 2020 is looking amazing

As I swing into this new decade i feel happy. I truly love what I do and will be doing more of it

There is nothing better than doing the thing you love and freedom can be found in that.

I have become a poster child for African fashion business and I will be ramping things up more for the decade ahead.

This is a season for domination, for expansion, for growth and this takes strategy and the right networks.

And I want to bring as much people along this journey of making 2020 An African Decade.

Join my Facebook lives over the coming weeks as I explain more of this.

If you want a Kickstarter in getting your business ready for growth expansion and. domination in 2020 then join my 21 day challenge

It will surely challenge and grow you but you will not regret joining.

Grab this link sign up and I’ll see you Monday 6th 8pm Uk time when we kick off live in a private Facebook group.

Together let’s make 2020 your African Decade.



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