Environmentally friendly measures, sustainability and circular economy actions applied to fashion are the focus of Fashionomics Africa’s first online contest. The first Fashionomics Africa contest is a challenge prize run by the African Development Bank, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, Parsons School of Design and Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative, across the Continent.

On the continent and worldwide, the current linear take-make-dispose model, characterised by rapid and endless consumption is giving way to a more circular and inclusive fashion value chain.

This year’s competition is looking for African fashion brands that will change the ways we produce, buy, use and recycle fashion and encourage a more sustainable change in consumer behaviour – as well as to raise further awareness around the topic itself.

The winner will have the opportunity to win:

  • A financial reward of USD 2,000 for the best sustainable and innovative design4;
  • A Fashionomics Africa certificate;
  • Access to a network of media insiders and industry experts;
  • The possibility to take part in online events and share insights on key sustainability challenges facing the industry;
  • The publication of the winner’s story and 400-word blog on the African Development Bank’s website and Fashionomics Africa platform;
  • The possibility to attend a Fashionomics Africa webinar as a panelist;
  • Access to mentoring and networking opportunities via:
    • Parsons School of Design:
      • 2 Individual project development mentoring sessions with Parsons School of Design Undergraduate co-Director for Fashion Design, Brendan McCarthy;
      • 1 group critique session to support project development with Parsons School of Design faculty members.
    • Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative:
      • Benefit from Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative network support;
      • Take part in one of the Foundation’s live online events to present on the brand and project.
    • United Nations Environment Programme:
      • Visibility and networking support:
        • Present the brand’s sustainability journey at an online event organized by UNEP, with participation of African and international companies, technical organizations, fashion institutes, etc.;
        • Participate in a live event dedicated to Sustainable Fashion during the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (in 2022);
        • Be featured under the UNEP Sustainable Fashion Communication Campaign to be launched next year and benefit from UNEP social media support
      • Capacity building support:
        • Gain one exclusive seat to participate in a UNEP online training programme on eco-innovation and life cycle approaches;
        • Get the opportunity to dialogue with some of UNEP’s Goodwill Ambassadors.
Eligibility criteria
  • The contest is open to African designers over 18 years old that live in Africa. Proof of age will be requested.
  • Participants must have launched a fashion business1 and operate in the textile (fabric making), apparel (clothing) or accessories sector.

Recently launched business are encouraged to apply. Proof of business registration will be requested.

Admissibility requirements

Applications must be received no later than 31 December, 2020.

Applications must be submitted by completing the online registration form HERE2. The information to be provided will include:

  • Personal information about the participant;
  • Business information about the participant’s brand;
  • Write-up (max. 2000 words) to:
    • Present the brand’s sustainable business model (from the materials used, to the production and end-life of the product);
    • Present the brand’s supply and distribution channels, social engagement and justice, labor practices (i.e. social status of its employees) and additional eco-friendly measures. How does the brand demonstrate consideration for the people who are part of the design/development/production systems and how does the brand ensure that the products have an impact on people and communities?;
    • Explain what makes the brands’ flagship products environmentally friendly and innovative;
    • Explain how does the brand define sustainability and how does the brand measure its impact on products?;
    • Explain why did the brand choose to engage in a specific area of sustainable production? Explain the motivation behind this choice;
    • Explain how they intend to allocate and spend the funds, should he or she win the competition.
  • Pictures of the product(s) proposed in different angles (at least front and back views) – maximum 5 products3.
    The following information will be required for each product submitted:
    • The materials used;
    • The design process;
    • The production techniques;
    • The methods put into place to reduce the carbon footprint (if any);
    • Information on the life of the product: durability and measures taken to extend the product’s lifetime.
  • Other attachments: 1 page visual/textual summary of the brand, look book, press book and any other relevant document.

Applications must be submitted either in English or French.

Failure to comply with these requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.


The applications will be examined by a jury composed of:

  • A representative of the African Development Bank’s Fashionomics Africa program: Emanuela Gregorio, Economist and Fashionomics Africa Coordinator;
  • A representative of the United Nations Environment Programme: Bettina Heller, Programme Officer;
  • A representative of Parsons School of Design: Brendan McCarthy, Program Director, BFA Fashion Design: Systems and Materiality;
  • A representative of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative: François Souchet, Lead – Make Fashion Circular.

The members of the jury will elect the 3 finalists of the competition.

  • Period to submit proposals: from 11 December to 31 December 2020
  • Announcement of the finalists by the jury: 25 January 2021
  • Public vote: from 25 January to 8 February 2021
  • Announcement of the winner: week of 15 February 2021

Application Deadline: December 31st 2020

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage