Sustainable by Design

by | June 9, 2023

July 5, 2023 11:00 am

This July, we’re going behind the scenes to deconstruct the practice of sustainability and circularity in Sustainable by Design; a 3-day short course for African creatives and designers in fashion interested in moving from passive emulation to the disruptive practice of sustainability. 


Conscious creativity is essential to brand longevity. From sourcing to sampling, production, marketing, sales, fulfilment, value-adds, and post-sales; a conscious mindset of circularity will not just set fashion creatives apart, it will give them staying power. Sustainable by Design will explore the concept of sustainability within an African context, while fostering critical thinking about innovation and its role in local practices.

Are you unsure of where to start to build a truly sustainable brand? Have you searched and found a bunch of tools and resources online that just don’t work for your African brand and left you even more frustrated? Do you want to go beyond adopting green trends that may not work for your business long term to knowing how to consciously develop sustainable and regenerative practices that are core to your brand?

The world is designed for continuity and operates in a cycle that allows for self or assisted sustenance; where our participation is crucial to keep the cycle going. Embracing this cyclical system by aligning our practices with sustainable principles is the starting point for good design, better products, and impactful brands that have a positive impact on the earth and our local economies.

With a focus on navigating the African fashion landscape, this transformative 3-day course will equip fashion professionals with knowledge and tools to consciously integrate sustainability and circularity into their creative processes, business models, and supply chains. 


Participate in engaging discussions, interactive sessions, and specific use cases that will challenge your perspective and ignite your creativity. At the end of the course, you will walk away with starting tools needed to understand the practice of sustainability and circularity including thought processes and personally applicable knowledge around how to communicate the value and positioning of your brand within the fashion industry.

Course Outline

Module 1: Redefining Sustainability in Africa through a Glocal Lens

    • Understanding Sustainability & Circularity: An Introduction 
    • Exploring Thought Process in Design
    • Sourcing and Access on the Continent
    • Innovation, Experimentation and Products of the Future 

Module 2: Practising Sustainable Manufacturing in Africa (A Case Study)

    • NKWO (Nigeria)
    • LilaBare (Kenya)

Module 3: Brand Storytelling as a Tool for Communicating Sustainability

    • Defining your WHY & Brand Universe 
    • Language and Imagery for communicating Brand Vision
    • Designing Collaborations: Exploring collaboration as a tool to excel.

This course includes a certificate of participation.


Your Trainer

ZARA ODU, Founder, Designers Consociate

Zara Odu is the founder of Designers Consociate, a highly regarded consultancy specializing in sustainable brand development and communication strategies. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Zara has a proven track record of helping brands build their sustainability initiatives from the ground up by revitalizing their existing brand equity. Her expertise lies in providing actionable insights, innovative strategies, and compelling narratives that drive the success of sustainable brands.

Passionate about advancing conversations surrounding sustainability and the circular economy in Africa, Zara is a leading advocate in the industry. Through Designers Consociate, she works tirelessly to promote conscious business practices and raise awareness about the importance of sustainability. Zara’s vision and commitment have made her consultancy a trusted partner for brands seeking to make a positive impact while staying true to their values; fueling a greater shift towards sustainability in the African fashion landscape.

Live Case Studies


NKWO is an artisanal brand at the forefront of the sustainable fashion movement in Nigeria with the conservation of natural resources and the environment as the label’s core values. Guided by the brand’s PHILOSOPHY OF LESS, low impact limited edition and one-off pieces are created from post-consumer textile waste, cutting table waste, and locally grown natural fibers.

As a call-to-action to address the lack of adequate waste management systems in Nigeria and the fact that many local artisans were the last in their line of craft. The founder, Nkwo Onwuka, relaunched the brand in 2012. She turned this challenge into an opportunity to bridge the gap between textile waste reduction and traditional craft preservation by experimenting with waste as a resource. It was during this process that she invented a new African ethical waste fabric called DAKALA™ Cloth.

The brand is creating meaningful change through its social innovation initiative – NKWO Transform Project. Developed by Nkwo Onwuka as a way of integrating women from vulnerable communities back into society. Through craft skill acquisition and employment, it provides a sustainable source of living. The project currently supports 15 women.

RIA ANA SEJPAL, Founder, LilaBare

Ria is a fashion designer, whose passion has been creating circular fashion systems and safe spaces for her community. Following her thesis entitled “Is Green the New Black?” she worked for luxury fashion houses in London & Mumbai before returning to her home country Kenya, where she founded her slow fashion label LilaBare.

Under this label, Ria uses fashion as her power tool to express social inclusivity & gender fluidity, from a perspective of her multicultural identity. Her design aesthetic speaks to nomadic functionality & celebration of ancient craft.

She has become synonymous with sustainable fashion in Kenya, celebrating artisanal design in her coastal concept boutique TAMA, as well as the immersive pop-up retail experiences across the globe. Ria has shown LilaBare’s collections at Paris Fashion Week, Coterie in New York, Hub of Africa Fashion Week, as well as trunk shows in Paris, London & across Africa.

An avid advocate for sustainable fashion & regenerative methods, she is the only East African to be on the Fashion Panel at Harvard Business School’s Africa Business Conference. Her creations have been recognised by Vogue Italia, Vogue India, CNN, UNICEF & more.



  • Designers looking to level up their skills and knowledge of the application of sustainable practices and brand building in Africa.
  • Fashion Entrepreneurs and professionals looking to incorporate sustainable strategies into established or developing fashion businesses.
  • Brand owners and creators interested in product development and the practicalities of responsible production.
  • Students in fashion, design or related fields who are interested in learning what it takes to build socially and environmentally responsible brands.


You can reserve your place by registering here

This is a virtual class and there are limited spaces available to ensure that attendees have the best experience, so make sure to secure your place before spaces fill out.


5th – 7th July 2023


11:00 am – 2:00 pm daily


*N59,000: Early Bird fee till 30th June 2023

*N65,000: Regular fee from 1st July 2023

Registration deadline: 3rd July 2023

*Registration Fees are non-refundable and non-transferable


We can’t wait to see you!


This event will be recorded and photographed and by attending the event you consent to be recorded and photographed and to transfer all rights to your image and/or likeness and audio recordings to The Assembly and its partners. Recordings will be used by The Assembly and its partners for promotional purposes.

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