Threads That Bind: An Ethical Collaboration Between Fashion Brands In Ghana And France

 

Esther is the talented and experienced owner behind a family workshop in Accra producing a well-known craft: artisanal Batik printing. On the other side of the city, Linda leads KAD Manufacturing, a Ghanaian company dedicated to apparel manufacturing on a large scale. In between these two companies, Awurabena has been directing for more than 30 years Winglow, a high-quality fashion brand that blends Western style with local cultural symbols to create long- lasting garments.

What do Esther, Linda and Awurabena  have in common? A story of collaboration with Panafrica, a fashion brand created in France dedicated to ethical sourcing and manufacturing, empowering communities across the African continent.

Challenge: Creating sustainable linkages

Ghanaian fashion is known for its use of vibrant colours and eclectic prints. The local fashion hub is bursting with artisans and designers who specialize in reinventing traditional clothes with a modern touch and following a more intense trend of ethically and sustainably produced garments.

The recent Covid-19 pandemic and the disruptions caused in the international supply chain make it challenging for businesses to identify a prospective target market and establish business connections.

To facilitate business linkages between Ghanaian and international brands and support the local economy, the Africa FAN project, financed by GIZ and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) facilitated an initiative to connect the French brand Panafrica with Ghanaian textile and apparel companies.

They together produced a new collection of colourful t-shirts and cushion covers to be sold internationally that combined the expertise of Esther, Linda, and Awurabena. Producing large-quantity orders for brands like Panafrica has provided these Ghanaian businesses with labour opportunities, wider international visibility and a long-lasting partnership.

Solution: Using digital marketing techniques to craft a long-lasting collaboration

Through Africa FAN, GIZ and ITC organized a digital marketing campaign to spread the word about the collaboration, promote the launch of new products, and increase sales. The campaign was divided into two activities: the development of a crowdfunding campaign and the deployment of an organic and paid advertisement plan on social media.

The digital crowdfunding campaign “Histories Colorées” was live for two weeks and set a goal of 200 advance orders. A key aspect for the success of the campaign was the production of captivating visual content - the result was the creation of 100 high-quality photos and 19 videos that showcases the final products, craftsmanship, local know-how, and manufacturing process of all the partners involved in the production (Panafrica video for the crowdfunding campaign).

The initiative also included the definition and set up of Facebook, Instagram, Google and Google Shopping paid and organic advertising. The paid ads on social media were published in different waves - 1) teaser; 2) launch; 3) videos; and 4) last chance – in order to redirect as many potential buyers as possible to participate in the crowdfunding campaign.

By the end of the two weeks, the result of the campaign was achieved: the goal of 200 units of advance orders was reached – in fact, it reached more than 1,200 orders -, which allowed Panafrica to launch the production campaign with its partners in Ghana and increase the number of products purchased initially agreed on.

Collaboration is definitely a powerful tool - especially to create more inclusive digital communities - that opens up opportunities for small businesses and eases their access to global trade.

 

About the Programme

African Fashion & Textile Accelerator Network (Africa FAN) is jointly implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Trade Centre (ITC)'s GreenToCompete initiative. The project aims to increase sourcing of sustainably produced textiles from emerging textile and apparel production hubs in Africa, thereby creating jobs for the region’s growing workforce.