Youth & Entrepreneurship Make Magic at Paris Fashion Week

Elimu Resource Centre
byElimu Resource Centre

The garments hit the runway in Paris at 11:30am on Friday, Sept. 28th. It was the first time anyone outside Malindi, Kenya laid eyes on them. The signature Tomfoolery.la jumpsuits now bear a distinctively Africa flare! The comfy jersey fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles, a truly creative way to help clean up our planet! And, the sewing was done on foot pedal (non-electric) sewing machines.

During her three weeks in Kenya, Shannon Ashford, Tomfoolery founder, trained and worked with a group of young Kenyan women. The women are trained sewing artisans and alumni of Elimu’s sewing project. The garment production took place at Heri Ministries Sewing Project, a local sewing college in Malindi, Kenya. Elimu sponsors girls to attend the 2-year sewing course at Heri and also provides them with business training and digital skills. Upon graduation they received their own new sewing machines and started gaining income, independence and higher status in their communities.

Click Here to watch a brief clip of the Elimu graduates as they work on the garments with Shannon and then watch their handiwork on display live in Paris:

Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.

Shannon connected with Elimu in March, 2019. Plans were laid and the work began in August. Shannon was on the runway in Paris showing the new line of jumpsuits for her Paris Fashion Week debut on Sept. 28th. The young women who created the pieces in Malindi couldn’t be there with her, but Elimu provided the forum at our digital learning hub, Elimu Resource Centre, for the team and students of Heri College to watch the event live.

The initiative did more than create bold new fashion designs — it created exciting first-ever experiences and inspiring linkages and friendships across the globe! If all goes well with Tomfoolery in future, Elimu sewing graduates will have many more opportunities to create garments for Shannon and build their own sewing businesses in Kenya in the process. We are all praying for her good success. Stay tuned!