Speakers 2013

Simone Cipriani

Mr Simone Cipriani created and manages the Ethical Fashion Initiative of the UN agency, the ITC. The Ethical Fashion Initiative is part of a much broader project, the Poor Communities and Trade Programme, which is helmed by Mr Cipriani. Overall, Mr. Ciprianis mission is poverty reduction and empowerment of women, specifically by means of generating work for micro producers and informal workers in many developing countries. Mr Cipriani conceived the Ethical Fashion Initiative to harness the power of fashion as a vehicle out of poverty.
The Ethical Fashion Initiative represents a new way of doing business in the fashion sector. It makes it possible for marginalised communities in slums and impoverished rural areas to be part of the international value chain of fashion. This is achieved through a business support infrastructure that facilitates fair collaboration with fashion houses and large distributors. These include such design stars as Ilaria Venturini Fendi and Vivienne Westwood as well as mainstream fashion brands.
The Ethical Fashion Initiative in centred in the East African nations of Kenya and Uganda. Its proven success in lifting large numbers of people out of poverty long term and giving them the power to change their lives has had the result that the programme is currently expanding to Haiti and the West African nations of Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso.
While Mr. Cipriani has years of experience working in some of the worlds poorest nations, he was born in Tuscany, the historic centre of the Italian luxury accessories industry. His academic studies were in the beautiful renaissance city of Florence, which is also the centre for the quality signified by Made in Italy. Mr. Cipriani worked in the Italian shoe and leather industry and he brings a deep understanding of quality and production to The Ethical Fashion Initiatives objectives to create desirable fashion in some of the world’s most challenging environments.
Mr. Cipriani worked previously in Ethiopia, where he managed a large intervention by UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) to improve the national leather industry. Also for UNIDO, he worked in both Ethiopia and Kenya to set up strategic frameworks to develop viable leather industries.
Mr. Cipriani has consulted for a host of UN and international agencies. He designed and managed development cooperation projects in Indonesia, India, Vietnam, China, Tunisia, Bangladesh. He directed an organisation (PISIE) that offered training and capacity building to leather industry entrepreneurs from the developing world. He directed a private company CESECA, which offered services to Italian footwear and leather companies in quality control, technological innovation, training and delocalisation of production. He served on the board of directors of PromoIndia, to promote the establishment on Italian companies in India. As CEO of CESECA, he directed and participated in several research projects within the EU Research and Development framework. He also directed an export consortium working mainly for the Asian markets of Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.