Dulma Clark (Soul of Africa), Vikki Brennan and Albert Tucker (Proudly Made in Africa), Lancelot Clarks (Soul of Africa, Clark’s Shoes) and Nebil Kellow (Enterprise Partners)
The Event: November 29th 2016, The House of Lords
This week, Soul of Africa held an event in the House of Lords, with co-organisers Proudly Made in Africa and chaired by Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey. An Actress, Author and Crossbench Peer, Baroness Young uses her political influence to promote ethics and sustainability in fashion. Aimed at exploring the ethical leather and textile industry from a UK business perspective following Brexit (and calling for the continuation of 0% tariffs!), the event attracted an array of industry experts, with representatives from major fashion brands (including Debenhams, ASOS and New Look), distributors, sustainable development organisations and ethical initiatives.
An interactive discussion was opened around the potential for Africa’s leather and textile industry to become a major ethical supply source and the potential impact of Brexit if a continuation of 0% trade tariffs is not established, leaving EU markets in advantageous stead to benefit from trade with Africa.
A policy paper was structured to present the case for the strengths and potential of the African Market, calling on the continuation of 0% tariffs.
Lancelot Clark of Clark’s shoes presented the business case for the benefits of producing goods in Africa, sharing insights from 10 years of experience making shoes on the African continent. Lance professes the notion that not only does Africa stand to be one of the market’s most valued sources of creativity, mastery and quality, but also that the most effective means of providing support to those living in poverty is by providing opportunities to gain meaningful, reliable employment. He has maintained a close relationship with Clark’s Shoes since stepping down as Managing Director, collaborating to produce Soul of Africa designs that have been sold the world over. Together, this successful relationship has paid out over £6 million in wages and generated more than £2m in profits used to fund local projects that provide care and education for vulnerable children and skills development opportunities for adults.