Elimu hosted a special guest in Malindi during August, Shannon Ashford – fashion designer, entrepreneur and founder of Tomfoolery.la. She’s a creative spirit with a heart for changing the world for the better. Her special line of designer jumpsuits are made with fabrics produced from recycled plastic. Plastic bottles are a particular problem all over Africa so her approach is sure to help clean up the continent!

Why Malindi? Along with sourcing her fabrics here, she wants to work with African artisans to produce her socially and environmentally conscious clothing line.

When she learned about Elimu’s sewing project in America, Shannon reached out to Elimu-USA chairperson, Cindy Rodriguez who connected her with Malindi.

Based at the Heri Ministries sewing workshop, she trained a small but eager group of Elimu sewing graduates and sponsored students to create the comfy flowing jumpsuit that is her signature. In the days that followed, the creative juices flowed and the African flare for powerful color was infused into her designs. New ideas developed and were co-created with her willing and energetic team. It was a wonderful first of a life-time experience for these young Kenyan women! And, most amazing of all – their handiwork is on its way to Paris! Shannon will be presenting her African designs at Paris Fashion Week in September. We will all be watching with bated breath!

You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.

An excellent role model to youth, Shannon took time away from jumpsuit designing to share her story with the students attending Elimu Resource Centre during the August school holidays. They also learned how something like fashion design can help clean up the planet. Her presentation showed these young people how creative off-the-wall ideas that can help out their local community, improve the world and at the same time gain them an income and a career to build on.

Shannon was inspired by the response from students, who recognize that plastic litter is a huge problem in their own communities. She noted that “The students have an incredible work ethic and it was exciting to see them so inspired by the idea of turning trash into something useful.”

Before returning to Los Angeles, Shannon and her Malindi team successfully produced a series of her Africa-style jumpsuits for her Paris Fashion Week launch in September. They combined bright typically African fabrics with Tomfoolery’s unique jersey fabric produced from recycle bottles. Something wonderful materialized! If all goes well, Tomfoolery will be setting up production in Kenya. We are all praying for good success!

Grab a sneak peak at her Paris line, Click Here:


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