A new addition has come to the Wildlife Works Export Processing Zone (EPZ): SOKO!
SOKO Kenya is a clothing production workshop for the export market that aims to create sustainable, fair employment and offer training and skills to some of Kenya’s poorest people. SOKO promotes community-driven, ethical, environmental, fashion-driven garments to the international fashion industry.
SOKO first began producing women’s fashion for the European, U.S. and South African markets in 2009. Set up by Founder and Managing Director Joanna Maiden, the factory had been operating from Ukunda, Coast Providence. With increasing production orders, construction of the new factory at the Wildlife Works EPZ started earlier this year and Joanna’s team joined us in Maungu in June 2012.
“It is an exciting time and we look forward to continuing to work closely with Wildlife Work’s fashion department,” says Joanna. “Moving to the EPZ will enable SOKO to grow further as well as offer employment to more people in the area and from further away.”
Since arriving in Maungu, SOKO has hired seven people for their production team, bringing the total employees to include 30 people from all over the country. In addition, 15 people were hired for a pilot embroidery program and trained in the skill of cross-stitching. The embroidery team completed 700 sample units which are currently being inspected in Belgium. Joanna hopes to get approval for further embroidery orders in the near future.
SOKO and Wildlife Works have worked collaboratively in the past years, producing highly sought-after fashion pieces. Our most famous client to date has been First Lady Michelle Obama, who wore a SOKO and Wildlife Works combination during her trip to Africa in 2010.
The importance of ethical fashion in the global marketplace cannot be understated. We’re glad to be working alongside SOKO in the production of sustainable style, and we will continue growing and innovating into the future.