Story

The idea for MFC was conceived in 2016 when a Ghanaian artisan, Matilda, and an American public health student, DL, started designing sustainable fashion together.

Story

The Idea   •   Make Fashion Clean (MFC)   •   Historical Context   •   2016   •   2017   •   2018


In 2016, a collaboration began between a Ghanaian artisan and an American public health student, resulting in the creation of two organizations: Matilda Flow Inclusion (MFI) Foundation in Ghana and Make Fashion Clean (MFC) in the USA.


The Idea

The idea for MFC was conceived in 2016 when a Ghanaian artisan, Matilda, and an American public health student, DL, started designing sustainable fashion together. Matilda and DL co-founded the Matilda Flow Inclusion (MFI) Foundation in Greater Accra, Ghana to support inclusive employment for persons with disabilities through creating and selling artisan-made fashion. They were advised by Julia, a professor of social impact and human centric development. Sarah, a qualitative researcher with experience working alongside tailors in Ghana, visited the project in its early stages. United by their desire to build a project with financial, social, and environmental sustainability, DL, Julia, and Sarah co-founded Make Fashion Clean (MFC) and incorporated the organization in Minnesota, USA


Make Fashion Clean (MFC)

"Over the course of four years traveling, studying, and researching in Ghana, we – the MFC founding team – came to know Matilda, who is an artisan, a tailor, and an advocate for marginalized people in Greater Accra. Working alongside Matilda, we learned that millions of pounds of secondhand clothes are sent to Ghana from the USA every year. This shifts textile waste from landfills in the USA to landfills or the environment in Africa and reduces the demand for artisan-made goods locally. In this way, consumption in the USA is preventing artisans like Matilda from earning living wages in Ghana.

In 2017, our team came together to found MFC because we believe this situation is unjust and needs to change. Since fashion consumers in the USA are directly contributing to environmental and economic problems in Ghana, we believe we must also be a part of working toward a solution."

- DL, Julia & Sarah


Historical Context

MFC approaches its work with an environmental, social, and racial justice lens. MFC recognizes that the disempowerment of artisans and persons with disabilities in Ghana has been caused by a history of British and American colonialism and neocolonialism. Neocolonialism is the use of political and economic pressures to control resources and influence in postcolonial societies. Even today, international development efforts and church missionary activities continue to occur in Ghana without equitable representation of Ghanaian community members and cultural interests. Furthermore, ableist, homophobic, and transphobic beliefs that sometimes surface in Ghanaian society largely do not originate from Ghana. These beliefs rather have their roots in churches and white capitalistic frameworks from the USA and Europe. They have arrived in Ghana through missionary activity and as a result of colonialism and neocolonialism. 

The work that MFC supports exists within a larger history and context of structural racism and oppression of marginalized people in Ghana. MFC is committed to both acknowledging this context and working to build more equitable relationships between disempowered artisans in Ghana and fashion consumers in the USA.


2016


2017


2018


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