Aurora James was selected this summer for the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund based on her ethical shoe line Brother Vellies, but as I-D recently wrote, “but beautiful, conscious footwear isn’t Aurora’s only mission.”
“A few years ago, on a trip to Nairobi to visit one of the brand’s workshops, Aurora saw a Kenyan man cycling down the street in a T-shirt that read “Kiss Me, I’m Irish.” It was funny. But it was also just one of the many absurd side effects of the current system of international clothing donations. Every year, Americans discard roughly 12 million tons of clothing, and a large portion of it ends up in Africa. But, contrary to our instincts, that clothing may be doing more harm than good.
In 2014, Aurora launched the Brother Vellies T-Shirt Project to help raise awareness of this problem. Specifically, she wants to highlight the damage foreign textile donations can do to local industry in Kenya; the influx of free imported clothes effectively destroys the market for locally produced garments.”