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Dress like a Duchess in African fashion

PUBLISHED: 13:42 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:42 03 October 2019

The Duchess of Sussex joins in with dancers as she and the Duke of Sussex leave the Nyanga Township in Cape Town, South Africa, on the first day of their tour of Africa. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

The Duchess of Sussex joins in with dancers as she and the Duke of Sussex leave the Nyanga Township in Cape Town, South Africa, on the first day of their tour of Africa. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Ethical Ipswich shoppers have the chance to look fabulous in African fashion, by following the lead of the Duchess of Sussex.

Ipswich businesswoman Jo Salter with one of the new African tunic dresses, made in Malawi for her Where Does It Come From? brand. The Duchess of Sussex's wearing a dress from the workshop could bring a boost for the ethical business Picture: WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?Ipswich businesswoman Jo Salter with one of the new African tunic dresses, made in Malawi for her Where Does It Come From? brand. The Duchess of Sussex's wearing a dress from the workshop could bring a boost for the ethical business Picture: WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

The Duchess (Megan Markle) wowed the crowds when the Duke and Duchess visited the Nyanga Township in South Africa, as part of their Royal tour.

She wore a black and white patterned dress from the Mayamiko workshop in Malawi, and the handmade dress costing just £69 quickly sold out online.

Jo Salter, founder of Ipswich-based ethical design clothing brand Where Does It Come From? said: "Meghan has championed sustainable fashion in her clothing choices many times so it was no surprise to see her supporting ethical designers.

"It was totally delightful though that she chose to support our African partner Mayamiko.

The Duchess of Sussex as she arrives at the Nyanga Township in Cape Town, South Africa, wearing an African dress from Mayamiko in Malawi. Picture: PA Wire/PA ImagesThe Duchess of Sussex as she arrives at the Nyanga Township in Cape Town, South Africa, wearing an African dress from Mayamiko in Malawi. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

"We worked closely with Mayamiko on our recent African tunics project. You may remember seeing their founder Paola on our crowdfund video last year.

"Paola created the brand to build livelihood and skills in Malawi and our African tunics, hair scrunchies, scarves and pocket squares were sewn in their workshops by their wonderful team of garment workers.

"So if you own any of our African products you can say it was made in the same workshop as Meghan's dress."

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Jo Salter started her ethical, fully traceable brand with handmade clothes from India originally and has now added this African product range.

The Malawi workshop trains tailors, mainly women, and some then go off to start their own businesses, so changing their lives.

The "Meghan" dress is apparently changing hands at ten times the original price online.

Jo added: "You too can support ethical fashion in Africa, and not at ten times the original price."

Where Does It Come From? sells clothes online and through various outlets including the Fair Trade Shop in Ipswich.

These African tunic dresses, all individually handmade, are priced at £110 and are made from organic rainfed cotton grown in Uganda.

Other prices include £19 for pocket squares and £10 for hair scrunchies.

Could Meghan's action boost sales?

Jo added: "It is more about spreading the word about choosing to buy clothing that has been created with kindness - to the planet and the makers as well as ourselves in terms of better quality, the feel of natural fabrics on the skin and peace of mind too. When celebrities like Meghan choose kindness we hope it inspires others to think about how they source their clothing too. A sales boost would be wonderful - every sale helps us keep going with our work to make fashion kinder."


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