Designer collaborates with the ethical fashion initiative

This season sees the launch of Karen Walker's latest campaign entitled "Visible". A campaign that, together with the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Institute (EFI), aims to highlight, celebrate and acknowledge, by creating and supporting the work of artisan community groups throughout Kenya.

Presenting to a captured audience at The Nathan Club on Friday evening, Simone Cipriani, Chief Technical Advisor of the EFI (of the United Nations' International Trade Centre), along with Karen Walker and photographer Derek Henderson, spoke about their recent collaboration with the United Nations in Kenya.

Cipriani explained the EFI works with communities throughout Africa and in Haiti, up-skilling artisans, while paying them a "fair wage" to make products for luxury brands that include the likes of Fendi, Marni, Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney.  Cipriani says the EFI approached Karen Walker because the brand is positive and innovative, the perfect match to celebrate and empower the artisans of Kenya.

The EFI’’s motto is “Not Charity, Just Work”, and in teaming up with Karen Walker set about to create sustainable business for micro-artisans by utilising their direct skill-set, creating a series of screen-printed pouches that will accompany every pair of Walker’s “Visible” eyewear.  In addition to this, more elaborate and embellished versions, also made by Kenyan artisan groups, will be available to buy separately.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Walker takes the project one step further by starring the artisans themselves in her latest campaign, to literally make visible, the artisans behind the designs, through the portrait photography of Derek Henderson.  Henderson captures the machinists, tailors, production managers, metal workers and cutters, who have acquired or refined their craft through the ethical fashion initiative.

“Visible” is not the first campaign Karen Walker has collaborated on with the EFI and we’re sure it wont be the last!

The Visible Collection – inspired and styled by Kenyan artisans…

Angie Fredatovich

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