Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the Urban Afro Concept team. We hope the end of the last decade had been kind to you and we wish you a productive and prosperous New Year! As always, Urban Afro Concept continues to evolve. For the most part, we haven’t introduced too many new changes and continue to offer high-quality handmade accessories. We are, however, excited to share that our team continues expanding, we will be introducing some new products soon and we’re looking forward to more collaborations and events this year. Here’s what to expect from us in 2020…

UAC Accessories + custom orders 

Shop our online store for our range of lovingly handcrafted jewellery and accessories. We stock big and bold statement pieces as well as dainty and delicate little accessories that liven up your look. We have bangles, earrings, necklaces, rings and hair accessories. There’s something for everyone. We often offer products at reduced prices and giveaways.

 

As you may or may not know, we also take orders for made-to-measure custom accessories. For more information on our custom jewellery service, visit our website. Download our CUSTOM ORDER FORM if you’re ready to put in an order for a custom accessory made according to your specifications.

Ethnique Afrika X Urban Afro Concept 

We’ve finalized our joint catalogue with our partner brand, Ethnique-Afrika (an innovative designer and manufacturer of chic and sophisticated, African-inspired attire.) The catalogue provides customers with information on our products and services. The catalogue also provides links to the online store and other useful information such as payment options, shipping options, our custom order policy etc. The UAC online shop still stocks some Ethnique-Afrika merch including a limited array of beautiful, high-quality wax print fabrics in a variety of colours and patterns as well as cravats in silk and wax print. More products to follow soon.

Click the following link to download the catalogue: UAC and EA catalogue FINAL

 

Work opportunities 

JOIN OUR TEAM

We’re always open to collaborating with bloggers and getting contributions from both experienced bloggers and those with solid writing skills who are looking to gain some experience. At present, we do not offer any monetary compensation for blog contributions. However, you will be publicly credited as the author of the pieces you write for us.

We also have a number of opportunities for interested parties to work directly with us by joining our team. In particular, we are currently accepting and reviewing applications for brand ambassadors, online sales consultants and media interns based in any location. These positions are unsalaried but our people would get paid a commission based on their sales of our products and interns receive a modest stipend for the duration of the internship. We’re looking for anyone, in any location, who fits the profiles outlined on the website.

 

That’s all for now!

Stay tuned to this blog for more updates and news including new competitions, giveaways and features. Also, subscribe via email and you’ll be entitled to R50 off your first purchase. WordPress subscribers can drop us an email (urbanafroconcept@gmail.com) to claim their voucher.

SUBSCRIBE - R50 OFF FIRST PURCHASE


 

For more information on our products, services and collaborating opportunities, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can also send us a message via Instagram or Facebook.

 

 

News, updates, jobs and more

It’s been quit a busy time for Urban Afro Concept. In the last few months, we’ve been occupied with a number of activities and changes to our ever-growing little business. We also have some exciting new developments and we’re extremely excited about what the near future holds for us. We thought we’d you let you in on what we’ve been up to and what’s to come.

Standard Bank Top Women Awards 

Last month , we had the privilege of showcasing at the Standard Bank Top Women Conference. This Conference brings together and celebrates women business leaders as well as South African organizations, both private and public, that prioritize and embed women empowerment and gender equality in their business strategies. As a woman-led business Urban Afro Concept was honoured to be a part of this event and share a stand with our partner brand, Ethnique-Afrika. The conference was a great success and was a valuable opportunity to showcase the latest in our collections, engage with new clients and of course network with other businesses that are founded or run by women.

Ethnique Afrika X Urban Afro Concept 

Speaking of Ethnique-Afrika, as you may or may not know, our partner brand is an innovative designer and manufacturer of chic and sophisticated, African-inspired attire. We’re pleased to let you all know that the collaborative ties remain strong not only with us adding more EA stock to our store but with us launching a joint catalogue that for all our products. The catalogue will provide an additional means for customers to get a feel for the types of products we make and sell, where to get them and how to put in orders for custom clothing and accessories, our specialty. As regards the online shop, UAC now stocks some Ethnique-Afrika merch including a limited array of exquisite, high-quality wax print fabrics in a variety of colours and patterns as well as cravats in silk and wax print. More products to follow soon.

 

New stock and custom orders

We also have a variety of new products which are now  available for purchase through the UAC online shop. This includes new necklaces, bangles and rings which were on display at the Top Women Conference.

 

Also, we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about whether or not we do products for men and we do indeed have stock that works for both women and men including our beaded necklaces and our bracelets. We also take orders for custom jewellery and are finalizing our order form which should streamline the process of requests for made-to-measure jewellery and accessories that are made to our customer’s specifications.

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Work with us 

We’re always open to collaborating with bloggers, especially those who have an interest in men’s fashion. We’re interested in getting contributions from both experienced bloggers and those with solid writing skills who are looking to gain some experience. At present, we do not offer any monetary compensation for blog contributions. However, you will be publicly credited as the author of the pieces you write for us.

We also have a number of opportunities for interested parties to work directly with us by joining our team. In particular, we are currently accepting and reviewing applications for brand ambassadors and online sales consultants. These positions are unsalaried but our people would get paid a commission based on their sales of our products. We’re looking for anyone, in any location, who fits the profiles outlined on the website.

That’s all for now! Stay tuned to this blog for more updates and news including new competitions, giveaways and features.


 

For more information on our products, services and collaborating opportunities, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can also send us a message via Instagram or Facebook.

5 ways to become a more socially responsible shopper

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It’s a well-known fact that the fashion industry has had many negative impacts on both human rights and the environment over the years. From huge factories owned by large multinational companies that exploit child labour, to workshops that subject their female labour force to dangerous working conditions, the glamorous façade of fashion masks a much darker side. This dark side creates beauty and wearable art at the expense of human dignity, environmental conservation and fair labour practices. As much as I enjoy fashion I can’t ignore the fact that the manufacture of clothing by some of my favourite brands has most likely resulted in the pollution of a major watercourse, for example. While many of us are aware of this, very few of us actually bother doing something about it. The following are a few practical suggestions on how we can “do our part” so to speak. Here are a few tips on how to become a more socially responsible shopper:

#1 Shop local

Show your support for home-grown talent by browsing your local craft markets, second-hand clothing stores, charity shops and e-boutiques. Not only can you get some unique and interesting pieces but you would also help sustain local businesses and, in some measure, be taking a stand against the fashion giants that exploit cheap labour in the name of style. Personally, I adore craft markets, particularly ones that stock African-inspired clothing and accessories. I’ve acquired a beautiful collection of interesting shoes, handbags and jewellery sourced from markets and small boutiques. These markets can also be a great source of stylish and sustainable fashion made by locals from recycled materials. 

#2 Re-style, re-imagine, re-invent 

Another great way to avoid handing your money over to design houses and commercial manufacturers who exploit human rights and destroy the environment is to skip the mall completely and browse your own wardrobe for those statement pieces that have been sitting there for a while. Or do what I do sometimes and raid somebody else’s closet! Fashion is cyclical. Vintage pieces rarely ever go out of style and you never know when some of your older clothes will be on trend again. Unlike the rich and famous, many of us don’t have the luxury of wearing an outfit only once. Obviously, there are some looks that just can’t be repeated but there are plenty of classic pieces that can be restyled, revamped and re-imagined to create several new looks. Think Tiffany Haddish or Kate Middleton who, despite their money and status, have opted to wear some of their favourite dresses more than once and each time looked effortlessly chic.  I have a number of great pieces I that have remained in excellent condition over the last few years. And luckily for me, my incredibly stylish mother and I are pretty much the same size so we often exchange clothes. So next time you’re stumped as to what to wear to a wedding, dance, cocktail function etc., I would suggest you try fishing out the staple LBDs, vintage handbags, the skirt you borrowed from your sister and the fabulous fashion jewellery you’ve had stashed away and forgotten about. You can get creative, or enlist someone else’s help, and come up with an entirely new look for some of your clothes. 

#3 Make your own clothing and accessories

Again, there are times when being a socially responsible shopper could, ironically, mean not being a shopper at all. Instead, it might entail fashioning your own fashion. Of course, this is easier said than done. You would need to have the right knowledge, skills, tools and materials to make your own clothing and accessories. But there are many resources you can consult to learn how to make your own stuff (thank goodness for YouTube!). Alternatively, you can commission someone to create custom garments and accessories for you. Moreover, the most ideal scenario would be to use materials that are recycled and/or manufactured responsibly. Fortunately for me I’ve got my mum who just so happens to be a fashion designer! She’s always made clothes for me, whether I couldn’t find something at the shops or simply wanted something unique for a special occasion. She also taught me how to make my own clothing which has been an incredibly useful skill to have. Also, since 2011, I’ve been making my own jewellery using an assortment of beads and scraps of fabric and at times, I  like to refurbish and revamp my old earrings and bangles. 

Consumers often find it difficult to gauge which companies deal in conflict-free jewellery, engage in ethical clothing production practices and make a concerted effort to be socially-responsible because it could often just be window dressing. Going the DIY fashion route is a great way to avoid supporting fast fashion brands that exploit human rights. 

#4 Support fashion-forward social and green initiatives 

Another way to be more socially responsible in the way you shop is to support the eco-friendly and social initiatives/projects aimed at reducing the adverse impacts of the fashion industry. You can back the businesses that actually do their part to respect human rights and remedy violations. H&M, for instance, runs a green initiative where customers drop off bags of old clothing, no matter the brand or condition, in exchange for a modest fashion voucher. Since 2017, they’ve collected the equivalent of just over 89 million T-shirts which they’ve also used to make new textiles for some of the clothing sold in-store. This project was started to combat the exorbitant amount of waste that ends up in landfills when clothing is thrown away. In the same vein, you could also give away old clothing that is in a better condition to a local charity or second-hand store. This is an efficient way to clear out long-abandoned items from your wardrobe that are simply gathering dust but can be acquired by someone who’s going to cherish them for ages. Also, by buying from and donating to these shops, you can find some gorgeous vintage pieces, support a charity in your area and avoid spending your money on the designer labels that are built on abusing human rights.

#5 Do your research and spread the word

Lastly, another important step towards becoming a more socially responsible shopper is to do your homework. Research, read and recount to others what you know. A simple Google search of terms like,“fashion and human rights,” “ethical fashion” and “fashion and the environment” can expose you to so much about the true environmental and human rights costs of fast fashion. Moreover, you can find useful info on the social and ethical fashion initiatives you can get involved in. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, for instance, is a great online resource for the latest developments on human rights and business generally as well as news on the human rights impacts of the fashion industry. There are several video clips, blog posts and articles that unpack the latest in legal developments around these issues. If you’re already operating a large-scale fashion business, have you familiarized yourself with key human rights standards and guidelines like the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Once you get the info you need, it doesn’t hurt to pass it on and get the word out.  Social media has made this much easier these days. And then take the ‘clicktivism’ a step further by writing about these issues in a blog post, article or even an academic research paper and do your part to help local fashion industry grow. 

 

*This post is adapted from a blog series dated from  24 January 2017  to 4 May 2017 on the Urban Afro Concept micro-blog on Instagram *