Rwanda: The Rise of Asantii to a Global Sustainable Fashion Brand

After winning the prestigious 2024 Rising Sustainable Brand Award in New York, Rwandan based clothing line Asantii is primed to push their brand to the global market, according to Asanti's analyst, Noble Nziza.

Founded by Rwandan entrepreneur, Maryse Mbonyumutwa, in 2022, Asantii, in February got recognised during an event hosted by Coterie New York, an organisation that links up-and-coming designers with knowledgeable insiders who can change the direction of fashion. The event was held on February 22, and was attended by 760 other people in the fashion sector from across the world.

Speaking to The New Times, Nziza said that "this prize inspired and motivated Asantii to keep pushing for the globalization of Made in Africa". He added that Asantii's road to being a global sustainable brand is truly one with intention and commitment to its people and the planet.

Their commitment to sustainability is based on the concept of "ubuntu," which translates as humanity; it is the idea that "I am" because "we are." It is seen largely in how they have established a conducive environment for their workers by giving free lunches, monthly sanitary pads, and subsidized groceries to all factory workers. In addition, they are also committed to providing funds for the education of their factory workers' children.

ALSO READ: Taking African fashion to the world: The story of Maryse Mbonyumutwa

Asantii believes that this is the first project of its kind, as they have made it their mission to add value to the rich skills Africa has. 80 per cent of the materials are sourced from the continent because Asantii is particularly conscious of the origins of its raw resources; their denim is sourced from Egypt, their cotton is sourced from Madagascar, and their added novelty fabrics are hand woven in Burkina Faso. They have also partnered with cooperatives in Rwanda for broidery and in South Africa for beading.

To create their collections, the Asantii team brings together 14 African designers they work with, each with their own brand, to share inspiration and heritage, rooted in the continent right from the initiation phase.

Asantii particularly values cultural heritage and industry knowledge to create timeless and effortless essentials that pay homage to Africans.

The purpose of this project is to address the issue of Africa's thin representation in the global fashion industry--less than one per cent.

With Pink Mango and C&D products, Asantii became part of the first export and domestic garment factory in Rwanda. The factory was established to make use of the continent's unemployment potential and to start a passionate, sustainable journey.

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