Trade Forum talked with Hugues Didier, co-founder of ethical and sustainable fashion brand Panafrica. From the fascinating prints and fabrics of West Africa, building your business as a social entrepreneur despite the many challenges, and tackling a forgotten supply chain with meaning: read on to learn about the continent’s huge potential.

What inspired you to create Panafrica?

My first job after university brought me to West Africa, where I spent three years in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Congo-Brazzaville working for a company that finances small businesses and entrepreneurs. The experience was amazing – both personally and professionally.

My friend from university, Vulfran, and I always knew we wanted to open a business one day. The time had come – inspired by the fabrics and prints I had seen in West Africa, we quit our jobs and jumped straight into the business world. We were ready to produce something with a purpose and have a meaningful job. Africa bursts with creativity – and we wanted to bring African materials and finished products to the world.