Sindiso Khumalo Ethical Fashion Entry

Sindiso Khumalo Ethical Fashion Entry: Hand Embroidered Fashion Rural South Africa to Milan

Cape Town, South AfricaRural Areas in the Province of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Many rural areas in Kwazulu Natal have little to no economic revenue streams. There is a wealth of artisans and craftsmen and women who I have and owould like to furthe partner with in creating luxury womens fashion and accessories.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Rural Areas in South Africa, specifically KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape are places with little to no economic revenue streams as all the factories are in the big cities. Alot lot of craftsmen and women live in these communities and try to sell their wares as curios to passing tourists. If their craftwork could be transformed through design into a luxury garment or bag or accessory, they could begin to earn a decent wage from this.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

I am a designer, trained at Londons most reputable design school, Central St Martins. I would come is as a designer & work with the craftsmen and women to produce a specific line of luxury accessories. These include: bags, wallets, jackets and womens clothing. I will present the work at Milan fashion week, as part of my presentation with Vogue Italia in February 2016. I will also present the collection in Italys biggest accessory tradeshow and get orders from various boutiques. These orders will all be made and we will get these women producing these hand embroidered bags and accessories for the various luxury boutiques around the world. I am currently doing this on a small scale, and would need funding to really make it a bigger project.


Vogue Italia " Whos on Next Dubai" , Ethical Fashion Initiative Selected Desginer to Showcase at Milan Fashion Week, " Most Beautiful Object in SOuth Africa" Design Indaba
Impact: How does it Work

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

So we started this project with the NGO and we have been able to build on the current group of women, putting more women into work. We would like to take it further by actually being able to employ most of them full time in the work and allow them to also transfer skills. Most are women and are breadwinners in their families, so if they can earn a decent wage from this, then it would mean that they can fund their children through school and hopefully in future formal education. Also this will be about teaching as many women this craft skill so it also continues to live for future generations. Our ideal is to have 20 women working fulltime with us by the end of 2016.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The impact will be huge, if we can turn a curio craft that currently sells for $5 into a luxury item that can sell for $200, then we can really create a proper workshop for these women to work in. Currently I have sold $1000 worth of products made by these women to Milanese boutiques. This has been on a very small scale, by scaling up we could easily create a broader range of products and sell $10000-$20000 worth of stock, with as much of the proceeds going back to the women and their community. This is a business but a social enterprise.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

It needs to run like a business by: 1. Have its own business account and bookkeeper. 2. Everyone employed will be paid at market rate. I want the women to earn a really descent wage from this work. 3. We will meet monthly with business mentors for support with strategy. 4.Ensure the highest quality items and no returns.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

First and foremost I am a designer, with great technical ability. I attended the most prominent design school and I have been awarded many awards for my current design work and believe that I can make an impact to the product because of my design skill. I also have been working as the Creative Director and Designer for my womenswear label which currently has over 15 stockists to date, I have a huge understanding of the luxury market. These women are hugely skillful with great technical ability. Its a a perfect match. We just need the backing to make it work.

Founding Story

When I first saw the work of Makhumalo and her team I thought... wow these are gorgeous cushions, why are they so cheap! Then I thought if we use the right materials and finishings, we could create beautiful luxury garments and accessories from this wonderful handcraft. In Europe, artisans and craftmen and women work in high end ateliers like Dior and Chanel. In South Africa they go into other work or are unemployed. Their skills lay tucked away as they get on with their lives because they've never known that this skill could become a valuable asset. I want to change that, create our very own artisan based luxury label, right in the heart of rural Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.


Sindiso Khumalo - Founder. - Textile Designer Edward McCann - Project assistant for interior projects - Architect ( Part Time) Margaret Gribble - Oversee Project Coordination Bertina Khumalo ( not related we just share the same surname) - Head of Crafts - Will be te main craftswomen to oversee and employ the craftswomen.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]


Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Designer, Retail Representative - Department Store.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Retailers - Department Store, Retailers - Specialty Store, Retailers - Mass-merchandise Chain.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Finance, Conscious Consumerism, Gender Equality.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Standards, Training, Technology.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?
● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

I worked very closely with an NGO on ths project for my Autumn Winter collection and look to pushing it further.