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


April 11th, 2018

Your six-week guide to why you should source Fashion Made in Kenya // MANUFACTURING

Week 1 – K IS FOR K-ENYA


The two major questions I get asked repeatedly as an African Fashion Business Coach are:


Which country should I set up my fashion business?


Where can I source XYZ in Africa?



And so this is why I have created a six-part newsletter just for you.

FIRSTLY a big welcome.

I will be sending to you a newsletter every week for the next six weeks to highlight the opportunity of Kenya as a key location to set up your Fashion Made in Africa business. So do subscribe to our newsletter at in order to receive the full six part series.

In regards to those two major questions, just to let you guys know (I haven’t yet publicised this) but I will shortly be launching some awesome new programs that will help you out in answering these questions with our help. I can’t wait to reveal all! But you have to stay with me in 2018 to find out!

Either way, one of the immediate ways for myself and the Africa Fashion Guide team to help YOU the fashion business owner, with your sourcing strategies in Africa is to give you relevant industry information so you can be equipped. I have recognised from personal, on the ground field research, from setting up my own business in Africa and from speaking with relevant industry bodies, that Kenya is a GO TO hub for SME businesses, as well as for the larger retailers, to source from and produce in.

So lets go IN and let me break it down for you.


So why is KENYA a great place for production right now?

Firstly the country of Kenya has a vision and a mission. It is called Kenya’s Vision 2030 in which its Textile and Clothing sector has been recognized as a key market for growth with economic potential. Kenya sees its own potential for industrialisation through the fashion industry and it identifies its ability to be a go to place where its own fashion designers, artisans and manufacturers can serve the market on a domestic, regional, intra-continental AND a global front


(image; African garment factory – photographer unknown)


According to a 100 page business and market insights 2016 report by HIVOS (in partnership with Equity Bank and (AFAD) the Association of Fashion Designers of Kenya), Kenya has a rich history within the whole textile value-chain from fibre through to the fashion industry. Though its textile and clothing sector has only contributed 0.6 percent to the GDP (which equates to just 6 percent of its manufacturing sector) it has had a field of players from ginneries, spinners, weaving and knitting facilities, designers, tailors and more in operation over a 100-year span.

Kenya’s Textile and Clothing sector is eager to better understand what the international market requires and to know what is influencing the global apparel market. They realise that being more informed of what is trending in the fashion landscape, their history and their location being situated close to India and to the big name Ethiopia where all the hype is going to right now, they can leverage themselves.


With the fashion industry becoming more about having a sustainable supply chain, responsible sourcing and conscious consumption Kenya has the opportunity to be a location and an avenue for the industry to pursue in this area due to their strong artisanal offer and their way of working. With the Ethical Fashion Initiative set up being originally based in Kenya helps it to be recognised as a location for ethical fashion.

So why KENYA?

In 2012 I had just visited Kenya for the first time and I had decided that Nairobi would be the place I would host our first Fashion Africa Conference on the continent (in collaboration with notorious Kenyan blogger and suitmaker Franklin Saiyalel aka Kenyan Stylista) as a means to discuss and promote the full supply chain of African Fashion Design, Textiles, and Manufacturing. The business was 1 year old and on its anniversary September 9th, we celebrated by hosting this event in Africa. The event brought together great minds, influencers and industry bodies in Kenya’s textile and clothing industry via panel discussions and keynote speeches and well known speakers including Diana Opoti, Sandstorm Kenya, Ann McCreath and more.

I chose Kenya not just to host the conference in the city of Nairobi known as the Silicon Valley of Africa – a city being a Headquarter for the United Nations in Africa and a hub for fintech. Two years prior to that event I chose Kenya as the place I would produce my own fashion brand.

When you research Kenya you find it to be a powerful economy for Africa with a population of diverse ethnic groups exceeding 40million. Alongside this with its beaches, mountains, grasslands and islands it packs a punch when it comes to holiday locations. Seriously just look at Kenyas Capital Lifestyle Editor Susan Wong’s blog as she photographs her travels around the country (and the world mind too!)…totally stunning.

With fashion business parks, Export Processing Zones, an array of crafts and artisanal skills, a buzzing leather industry and jewellery making from recycled brass and more, there are the opportunities for a variety of businesses to work with for your international businesses.

Your turn.

These are the types of businesses we will be visiting in and around Nairobi in May on our Fashion Africa Sourcing Trip to Kenya. SO if you are spontaneous and serious about setting up in Africa then get in touch right away to join us! See more information here: FAST Kenya.

Lets do this!

Once you sign up to our newsletter via then next Sunday you will receive part two of your six-part guide to why you set up your sourcing for your fashion made in Africa business in Kenya.

Lastly..before I forget, do make sure ALSO to join our 4000+ strong Facebook group Fashion Africa Voices every week for my new series called “#FashionInFIVE” Facebook Live where I bring you weekly updates on key topics happening in Africa’s fashion industry from textiles, to fashion shows to business insights and more. Every Wednesday at 6pm GMT/UK.

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 12.22.02


See you there!


With love from Africa

Jacqueline Shaw

Your African Fashion Business Coach

Founding Director – Africa Fashion Guide Ltd


main image source: Kenya apparel factory – Fashionating World



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