There are people in the world who are driven to make a difference and an impact in their chosen business sector, and entrepreneur Jacqueline Shaw is one of those who is making a big difference in Africa’s fashion and textile industry. With her Africa Fashion Guide, she is bringing the continent’s talented fashion and textile designers to the attention of global markets and buyers.
LoA learned more about this driven and passionate entrepreneur who is putting Africa’s fashion and textile producers on the global map.
What does your company do?
AfricaFashionGuide is an information based platform which wa birthed with the focus to create an awareness campaign that promotes the full supply chain of the African fashion and textile industry, with an ethical perspective. It aims to create links with the greater global textile industry. As a professional fashion designer, industry visionary and an eco-entrepreneur with a big heart for Africa, fashion and international development, Africa Fashion Guide is my passion. I conceptualized Africa Fashion Guide with the focus to promote the African fashion and textile industry to the greater global textile industry. It is a ‘one stop shop’ for fashion professionals, students, retailers, magazines, bloggers and all those interested in African fashion and textiles. It is a way to promote this industry and bring links between African designers, craftspeople, manufacturers and textile designers with UK and EU fashion design companies and consumer markets, as well as with retailers worldwide.
See our programs that are there to help you create, set up and launch successful and responsible fashion made in Africa businesses.
Contact us at email@example.com for more information on our programs.
Learn, Share and Network with industry professionals:
www.fashionafricaconference.com (F.A.C. is a registered event program of Africa Fashion Guide Ltd)
Be Informed on the Business of African Fashion, get Insights on the Africa’s Fashion and Textile Supply chains, and be Inspired by those making it happen in Africa today here: www.africafashionguide.com
Meet the Maker! Go Fast With Us by joining one of our annual trips to African countries and meet directly with Producers, Manufacturers, Artisans and Industry trade professionals here:
www.fashionafricasourcingtrips.com (F.A.S.T. is a registered program of Africa Fashion Guide Ltd)
Go Deeper and gain In-depth, relevant, contemporary industry and business information tailored to Africa specifically via an online course based setting register your interest via inbox/email to be one of the next cohort of students on our www.FashionAfricaBusinessAcademy.com (F.A.B.A. is a registered program of Africa Fashion Guide)
The Africa Fashion Guide African Fashion Consultancy is a business consultancy enabling you to have the 1-2-1 support to help grow your business and put in strategies specific to the market that will direct you towards success www.africanfashionconsultancy.com (A.F.C. is a registered program of Africa Fashion Guide)
Source your African textile needs, connect and find your manufacturer and production house at our expo here:
www.thefateshow.com and www.fashionafricatradeexpo.com (the F.A.T.E. is a registered program of Africa Fashion Guide)
Africa Fashion Guide is supported by various partners and through these contacts Africa Fashion Guide will continue to attend various fashion and textiles events in Africa and will be launching their own workshops too. The Africa Fashion Guide website gives you up to date information and news on all aspects of the full supply chain of the African fashion and textiles industry.
Africa Fashion Guide launched in September 2011 along with a coffee table style contemporary fashion book entitled ‘Fashion Africa’.
“As a professional fashion designer, industry visionary and an eco-entrepreneur with a big heart for Africa, fashion and international development, Africa Fashion Guide is my passion.”
What inspired you to start your company?
I created Africa Fashion Guide with the focus to promote the African fashion and textile industry to the greater global textile industry and thus to create links with African fashion businesses and the UK and EU fashion retail and consumer markets. I wished to change the narrative around the perception of Africa by using the vehicle of fashion as a disruptor as well as a medium to bring trade over aid to African artisans and producers.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Africa Fashion Guide is the first and only platform to promote and support the full supply chain of Africa’s fashion and textile industry. It creates an offline platform that brings together insiders, professionals and influencers at an annual conference to make a difference and instigate change. It has launched the first online sourcing platform gateway for sourcing African fashion textiles and production and brings people to the continent via business mission trips. Now with the business academy and membership we are able to support multiple SME business owners in creating and building African fashion businesses making made in Africa product a reality.
Tell us a little about your team
Presently the business is started, built and grown by myself but with a pool of volunteers, experts and advisors to help grow the business.
“I conceptualized Africa Fashion Guide with the focus to promote the African fashion and textile industry to the greater global textile industry. It is a ‘one stop shop’ for fashion professionals, students, retailers, magazines, bloggers and all those interested in African fashion and textiles.”
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
With 16 years’ experience in the global fashion industry living and working in 4 countries (Turkey, China, Germany and England) over 4 continents (USA/Europe/Asia and Africa) for international brands and retailers including Puma, C&A, Animal, Russell Athletic, Wilson and Fila, I created Africa Fashion Guide, the only sourcing consultancy and information based platform for African fashion. Africa Fashion Guide has become a key tool that educates, informs and retunes the perceptions of Africa's fashion and textile industry – an industry I see as a vehicle for trade and development.
I am the author of the acclaimed coffee table book Fashion Africa; I am also an International public speaker, a University lecturer, an African Fashion Business Coach, a consultant and an industry researcher. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion (2001), a Master’s degree in Ethical Fashion (2011) and a Masters in Social Research (2018). I am known for being an expert and most proudly an ambassador in the ethical African fashion landscape. Having spoken at elite venues such as House of Lords London, London Eye, European Commission Brussels, Fashion Institute Technology NYC, Who's Next Paris to name a few, I am an actively campaigner for a more responsible way of doing fashion business and doing it well in Africa. I have built up my name and recognition internationally as a public speaker over the years.
As an African Fashion business coach with past clients that include Lineapelle, Miroglio, Brighton Museum (for their Fashion Cities Africa exhibition), Prospero World (World for their African Fashion Award) and British Council (for their Enterprise Africa Summit), I use my expertise to bring to life African fashion led projects. With my unique tools and strategies, I specialize in creating sustainable solutions that help new and existing fashion businesses successfully navigate the sourcing and manufacturing landscape of Africa's fashion and textile industry.
I believe Africa is fashion's future and I have used my African fashion t-shirt campaign using Fairtrade, organic African cotton t-shirts made in Africa by Africans to spread this message on the catwalks of London Fashion Week to Ghana to Los Angeles. I am unapologetically a champion for fashion in Africa and my work and reputation not only proceeds me, but represent my enthusiasm and high belief in this goal. Due to this I aim to equip as many people as possible in setting up businesses in Africa to build trade, contribute to Africa's GDP, and impact thousands of African lives using the vehicle of fashion.
I have been featured in BBC Africa, Vogue, Drapers Record, WWD, Bent TV, Monocle Magazine, BBC Women’s hour, Al Jazeera and more, spreading the message about ethical fashion in Africa and African manufacturing.
Through Africa Fashion Guide Ltd (www.africafashionguide.com) we have an array of events and programs including Fashion Africa Conference, Fashion Africa Voices, Fashion Africa Business Academy, Fashion Africa Trade Expo and Fashion Africa Sourcing Trips.
“Africa Fashion Guide is a way to promote this industry and bring links between African designers, craftspeople, manufacturers and textile designers with UK and EU fashion design companies and consumer markets, as well as with retailers worldwide.”
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
To launch the sourcing platform in 2019 and continue to bring a strong business and service to SMEs, retailers and brands worldwide to work with the talented suppliers and artisans in our sourcing network.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Impacting lives in Africa and fulfilling dreams with brands and entrepreneur designers to work with Africa. Personally, it’s for autonomy of role, freedom of time and fulfilling my life purpose doing what I am meant to do - being an entrepreneur.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
You are defined by the actions you take not the dreams you make. Because your actions are the antidote to fear, just feel the fear and do it anyway, be extraordinary in your thinking and your actions to stay relevant and to stand out in the crowd. As entrepreneurs we define the game we want to win, we are only limited by our imagination, so think bigger, and then think bigger than that.
Finally, as Nelson Mandela said, there is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. Because when you are uber passionate about your WHY then your goals become non-negotiable.
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Why LoA loves it….
It is always powerful to see how women entrepreneurs can turn their passion into impact driven businesses that make a real difference to business sectors and people’s lives, and Jacqueline Shaw is definitely one of those people. Through her vision and her platforms, she is helping to raise the profile and connectivity of talented African designers and textile producers, linking them to customers, to global markets, and to support systems - something that is needed if Africa’s design ecosystem is the thrive. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa