ASOS Africa takes clothes back to their roots

These days, most of the clothes we buy on the highstreet have been mass produced in nameless factories, by nameless workers who are over-worked and under-paid. We buy a dress in February, wear it once (twice if it’s lucky), and by the following year it’s most likely to have been pushed to the back of your wardrobe, lying crumpled and forgotten.

But what about the clothes that have survived the wardrobe crush? Why are some re-worn year after year, while others are lucky to last one season? Most likely it’s because these clothes have a story. Whether it’s the scarf that your nan knitted you when you were 12, or your mum’s boho skirt from the 70s, it’s the ones with roots that make the cut.

And this is where ASOS has got it right. Now in it’s fourth season, ASOS Africa is a collection produced in collaboration with SOKO Kenya, a clothing production workshop that was set up in the Kenyan town of Ukunda in 2009 to bring sustainable, fair employment to this impoverished community. The collection, which this year features sports-luxe and acid brights combined with traditional Kenyan patterns, allows underprivileged communities to establish sustainable business through local craftsmanship. Knowing where your clothes have come from and who may have made them means that they take on a whole new level of meaning, and knowing they were made fairly makes it even better. These are the ones that you won’t let out of your sight. Good for your wardrobe, but especially good for the people of Ukanda.

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ASOS AFRICA Organza Skirt £40.00

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ASOS AFRICA Tropical Print Shorts £35.00

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ASOS AFRICA Sleeveless Jacket £45.00

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ASOS AFRICA Stripe Parka £75.00

The grass is always greener…

Well, it definitely is where Sylvia Heisel is involved.

Mark my word for it, 2012 is going to be THE year for sustainable clothing. As high street stores battle to see who can come up with the greenest campaigns, designers are quickly following suit, creating ever-quirkier clothing lines that are more resourceful than ever before.

For me, the prize for the most-resourceful competition has to go to this lovely lady. Of Turkish heritage and raised in East Africa and New Jersey, Heisel’s designs capture this fusion of cultures and blend them together in Monet-esque perfection. And not only are the designs beautiful, but they are also completely organic and eco-friendly. Take her grass print fabric for example – made using polyester from recycled soda bottles, it is (quite literally) as green as you get.

Guaranteed these pieces will make you green with envy too…(I know, I know, I took it too far).