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Simone Cipriani

Simone Cipriani, Head and Founder of the Ethical Fashion Initiative at the International Trade Centre. Simone Cipriani founded and manages the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a flagship programme of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and of the World Trade Organization.

Simone has made it his mission to build a more responsible and sustainable fashion industry, by transforming it into a vehicle of poverty reduction and of empowerment of women, throughout the developing world. The Ethical Fashion Initiative enables artisans who live in marginalized conditions, in Africa, in the Caribbean and in Asia (including Afghanistan), to become regular suppliers of international fashion and lifestyle brands, thus reducing poverty and empowering large numbers of women artsians.

Since its inception, the initiative has also evolved to work with emerging African designers to promote their talent at an international level and thus to support more forms of Made in Africa production. The Ethical Fashion Initiative has created a training centre for African migrants and for refugees in Italy and is now engaged in a large project aimed at addressing the root causes of migration to Europe from Africa.

A multitude of international brands including Brother Vellies, Camper, Chan Luu, Edun, Mimco, Osklen, Karen Walker, Sass and Bide, Stella McCartney, United Arrows and Vivienne Westwood work with the Ethical Fashion Initiative.


Simone worked previously in Ethiopia, where he managed another UN led intervention aimed at improving the national leather industry. He also worked in both Ethiopia and Kenya to set up strategic frameworks to develop viable leather industries. He has consulted for a host of UN and international agencies. He designed and managed development cooperation projects in Indonesia, India, Vietnam, China, Tunisia and Bangladesh.

While Simone has years of experience working in the developing world, he was born in Tuscany, the historic centre of the Italian luxury accessories industry. After studying in Florence, the centre for “Made in Italy” quality, Mr. Cipriani worked in the Italian shoe and leather industry. As such he brings a deep understanding of quality and production to the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s objectives to create desirable fashion in some of the world’s most challenging environments.

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 to Asia.

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