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Runaways to runway: how ethical fashion improves the lives of Africa’s poor

The muddy streets of Kenya’s crowded Korogocho slums are a far cry from the fashion boutiques of Paris, Milan, New York or London.

But beneath a tin roof, workers from some of the country’s poorest communities sew buttons and stitch cloth for top international designers, part of a not-for-profit “ethical fashion” project.

“Before Ethical Fashion, I couldn’t educate my children,” said Lucy, sitting in a circle of women, needles in hand as they deftly sew white seed beads to the surface of smooth, chocolate-coloured leather.

“But now I can educate them, and provide for them anything they need,” said the mother of four, in her late 30s.