Kenyan women-led design house Pine Kazi converts pineapple leaf and recycled rubber into fashionable footwear and has won development finance institution the African Development Bank’s (AfDB's) Fashionomics Africa initiative competition.
Pine Kazi won $2 000 and will have the opportunity to showcase its creation in online events and share insights on key sustainability challenges facing the industry. The company, co-founded by Olivia Okinyi, Angela Musyoka and Mike Langa, will also have access to media opportunities, and mentoring and networking opportunities from competition collaborators.
Competition judges described Pine Kazi’s shoes as innovative and sustainable. The upper part of the shoe is made from pineapple textile while the inside is lined with organic cotton. The sole is made from sisal plant fibre, fitted with recycled tyre underneath.
Competition judge and New York-based Parsons School of Design programme director Brendan McCarthy congratulated Pine Kazi, saying it transforms waste materials from pineapples into profound new textiles and beautiful new shoes.
The shoes are 100% handmade to reduce carbon footprint, Pine Kazi says.
Okinyi says the company will invest half the winnings in the machinery used to make shoe source materials.
"The new machinery will see pineapple leaf waste put to work and create more green jobs for unemployed youth," she adds.
The Fashionomics Africa contest honours African fashion brands working to change how fashion is produced, bought, used and recycled to encourage more sustainable consumer behaviour.