Rayana Edwards, a South African sustainable fashion legacy maker — Lionesses of Africa

What does your company do?

We upskill and train unemployed women in the townships, using recycled fabrics to make one of a kind products for both local and international markets. Our trainees work and train in an incubation hub for between 6 – 9 months, developing a skill and the basics of business. Our business model is a balance between profit and purpose.

Our beautiful, bespoke pieces are one of a kind pieces that speak to culture and heritage but can now be worn by all communities.

We operate in 2 market segments mainly: Resort Wear and Special events or occasion wear. We are also slowly developing for the modern modest segment as our kimono which is our main design and also serves as an “abba” or “abaya” which is best suited to the modest wearer.

Our hands on mentorship programme is uniquely designed to address the strengths of the trainees. When our trainees graduate, they either become more employable, self-employed or suppliers to Harem Clothing. We strongly believe in collaborations to influence our stakeholders to adopt and practice a strengths-based approach. What started off as a fashion project is now life-giving, based on the ethics and values inspired by the experiences of a circle of women. Currently we have clients in Denmark, USA, Sweden and the UK.

What inspired you to start your company?

I travelled the world when I was in retail. The sights, sounds and movement of people all different culturally but with the same desires. Fashion is everywhere and my personal journey has been about the threading and weaving of colour and textures. Sari for Change is an extension of this and it really is about the connection.

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