A sustainable brand of kids clothing from Uganda, Abaana designs and produces beautiful clothing out of Cotton made in Africa. Founded by three moms, Abaana is a colourful young label with a true passion for sustainability. The label produces locally in Uganda and closely collaborates with artisans, producers, and Cotton made in Africa. This ensures a truly sustainable supply chain. Shop Abaana here.
Who is behind the label Abaana?
Behind Abaana are Rebeca, Rachel and Caroline. We are practically from all over the world which is wonderful as this diversity is important when sharing ideas and creativity.
Where did you meet?
We met at a baby playgroup in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. Somehow, it is fun to think we met thanks to our kids.
Why did you want to create your own label called Abaana?
Having left our full-time jobs to concentrate on our families, we first thought about setting up our own business. We kept on talking about the question how to get back to work without having to miss out seeing our children grow older. This is how we came up with the idea of creating our own business which would allow us the flexibility to combine family and work.
In addition to that we noticed that we tended to buy kids clothing abroad. That was the time we figured out that there was a need for nice, comfortable and affordable kids clothing made out of cotton. Simultaneously, Uganda was experiencing a revival of its own textile industry – from field to fashion. These two circumstances led to our idea to start a children’s clothing line right here in Uganda.
Having come up with the idea of setting up a social business linked to children’s clothing and accessories, we focused on the concept of designing products that are natural, ethical and fun. Discovering that Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) is already actively working in Uganda was at that time the missing piece in our wish of ensuring a sustainable supply chain within the country.
How did you come up with the name Abaana?
We are proud to carry the “Made in Uganda” label and aim to promote Ugandan cotton and support local workers. That is why we asked our Ugandan friends to brainstorm with us which name could best represent our brand in Luganda, one of the languages spoken here, that embodies fun, happiness and children. At the end, we found the ideal brand name for us: “Children – Abaana”.
What would you like to express with the brand?
Essentially, we want to express that we care for the clothes we make because we care for the users – we design them as if they were for our own children – and at the same time we care about how these clothes are made: the social and ecological footprint we leave as a business.
We are authentic. And we believe that our brand expresses exactly this as well because we truly like to take care of all the details along our supply chain: from the farmers who are growing the cotton in Uganda to the packaging of our products. Part of the supply chain are also our clients who are purchasing the clothes and thereby supporting a fantastic homegrown product that is fair to its producers and good to the environment.
All our designs are hand-drawn by ourselves and each drawing is brought to life with an accompanying story. Our inspiration comes from all the vibrant and colourful surroundings that make it so easy to be creative in this beautiful country with its nature and people.
Why are sustainable resources important for you?
We understand sustainability as endurance. Not only endurance of our natural resources but also endurance of work and income.
The sustainability of natural resources is one of Abaana’s core values. We strive for a minimal environmental footprint and therefore support environmentally friendly cotton cultivation methods by using CmiA cotton, design clothes that last longer and ensure that the packaging of our products can be reused.
As a social business, we strive to provide a sustainable income for all people involved because if everybody profits we can offer long-term economic growth. As a start-up, this is important for us as one of our goals is to help create fair and sustainable jobs.
Why did you choose to work with Cotton made in Africa?
Knowing that our support to CmiA goes directly back to the smallholder cotton farmers and helps them to grow their business sustainably was the key for us.
Fair and on time payment for the cotton farmers, sustainable cotton growing practices and wages for factory workers that are paid on time and exceed or correspond to at least the national set minimum wage. These practices are all in line with our own principles, so what better than partnering with CmiA?
Anything else you would like to share?
We are very excited to be launching another new line of designs: our Abaana Zero line. Recognizing how much fabric is being wasted everyday around the world compelled us to look at ways of reducing our environmental footprint. Our aim is to have a line with zero waste.
Key to Abaana Zero will be to upcycle the offcuts of old designs and transform them into new and beautifully designed clothing. At the heart of Abaana Zero are the local artisans we support through our work. They get fair prices, earn a decent living to support their families and are trained in quality standards for textile production.
Thank you for the interview.