Despite great strides, cultural appropriation continues to be a problem in the fashion industry. However, ASOS is an exception. The online retailer is taking a stand and has asked a few influential people of colour to help. First talked about in April, Julie Adenuga's ASOS collection is almost here so prepare yourself.
The Beats 1 presenter (and sister of Skepta, if you didn't know) has collaborated with ASOS on a new Made in Kenya range. Along with Victoria's Secret model Leomie Anderson and 2ManySiblings bloggers, Velma Rossa and Oliver Asike, Adenuga has helped form the colourful collection that is set to hit the site later this month.
On Tuesday, Adenuga tweeted a photo showing an off-the-shoulder black dress covered in a vibrant pineapple print. "My ASOS x Made in Kenya collection is dropping very very very soon — I'm very excited," she wrote. ASOS has confirmed that "very very very soon" means August 16, so set a reminder before it all sells out.
As well as that pineapple print, the new season collection will feature red dresses, trousers, bags, and belts covered in a floral motif, as well as a gorgeous halterneck dress covered in an artistic pattern. Oh, and there's a blue kimono that I'll be adding straight to my shopping cart. Sizes usually go from a UK 6 to a UK 16, FYI.
Made in Kenya isn't a new concept for the brand. The initiative actually started in 2009 with the original name of ASOS Africa. The collection was a collaboration with an African clothing enterprise called SOKO which hires local workers to create the clothes that appear each season. Now, the company has given more than 50 people living in Kenya a full-time sustainable career in the fashion industry.
And that's not all. ASOS tells Bustle that as well as utilising the talents of local people and ensuring that all of the African-inspired designs are tasteful and inoffensive, the online retailer has also embarked on a mission to help Kenyans in other ways.
The brand set up the ASOS Foundation in 2013 and has so far been able to provide fresh drinking water for more than 1,000 people while simultaneously ensuring that girls and young women can spend their time going to school rather than walking for miles to collect water. In terms of schooling, ASOS has also funded educational equipment and dining halls to give children the quality that they deserve.
ASOS tells Bustle that Adenuga's Made in Kenya range coincides with the brand's The Kujuwa Initiative. While the retailer and SOKO have helped young women in Kenya swap providing for their families for the chance to go to school, many girls are still unable to get a proper education due to a lack of sanitary protection.
Periods should never stop people from doing what they want, so the initiative has created sanitary pads that can be reused again and again for up to three years. Special kits containing these pads as well as information about menstrual hygiene will be given to 900 girls in Kenya, providing further employment opportunities for local people.
If you want to fill your wardrobe with clothes that actually give back, ASOS could now well be your go-to brand.