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Cotton & Leather

At VAA, we work with numerous African producers who provide high-quality goods from a wide range of categories. To find out more about our producers and their stories select a category from the drop-down below:

Oliberte Shoes

Oliberte Shoes

LOCATION: 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

STORY:

Oliberté is a sustainable brand supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Oliberté believe in empowerment, transparency, and doing right by all. This means making premium quality products with a lifetime warranty, and it means treating every employee, everywhere in the world, with respect. 

In 2009, Oliberté started off as a small footwear company partnering with factories and suppliers in Africa. Since then, they gained enough momentum to launch our very own factory in 2012. Oliberté make every single pair of Oliberté shoes at this factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In September 2013, they also became the world’s first Fair Trade Certified™ footwear manufacturing factory.

Toto Knits

Toto Knits

LOCATION: 

Kenya

STORY:

Founded by Erin Brennan Allan, Toto Knits is a line of organic cotton knitwear ethically made by a group of single mothers in Kenya. Working closely with Mary Wambui (who oversees the knitters) Erin designs fun and funky pieces that children and adults alike will love.

The knitters are paid by the piece which allows them to work as much or as little as they like.  It’s all about putting family first, especially for moms. This makes our work fun, we love what we do and we hope it shows.

Each piece is made by hand and signed by the knitter. There’s more than one story behind each piece- the design, the materials and the craftsperson who made it each speaks volumes of its provenance. Toto Knits are ideal gifts for baby showers, birthdays, christenings for the ethical shopper - what better way to have fun while shopping responsibly!

Wildlife Works

Wildlife Works

LOCATION: 

Rukinga, Kenya

STORY:

Mike Korchinsky founded Wildlife Works in 1997 with a simple but powerful idea: protecting endangered wildlife requires balancing the needs of the wildlife with the need for work in those rural towns. He established Rukinga Sanctuary on 80,000 acres of land in South East Kenya to prove that wildlife conservation can attract sustainable development opportunities to rural communities.

At the base of the sanctuary Mike built an eco-factory to produce casual apparel. Over the last decade, over 300 local jobs have been created from Wildlife’s conservation and fashion businesses, bringing countless families out of poverty and unemployment. As a result, the local wildlife has been flourishing; elephants, one of the many protected inhabitants of the sanctuary, have been coming back at a rate of 2-4% each year.

Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Wildlife Works garments are completely carbon-neutral through the use of credits created from protecting The Kasigau Corridor located in Southeast Kenya. Eco’s 66 full-time factory workers are paid according to the Government of Kenya’s fair wage guidelines for city-level skilled wages with full health care coverage for themselves and their families. Trained by Wildlife Works, many of the seamstresses have been with the company since the factory opened its doors in 2000.