Eco Warrior: One Colour

Green Lifestyle Magazine

Recognising a need for practical solutions to aiding poverty-stricken East Africa, Di Stitt started her clothing company One Colour and has watched her suppliers go from strength to strength.

Di Stitt

Di Stitt has started her own clothing company to help people in a country that she dearly loves.

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About to embark on another trip to Kenya, this time with her husband and two teen boys, Di Stitt talks fondly of the people she will be visiting, as though old friends. However this friendship began a little differently to most, a desire to build positive change and to establish long term work in poverty stricken areas lead her to the people of East Africa.

Forming relationships with the people that produce her clothing label from seed to cloth was the only way for her to do business. “One Colour was born out of a need to confront and practically address extreme global poverty.” Di puts it quite simply; “With on-going employment people can make plans for tomorrow rather than just have enough to live on for today.” Since starting her work in Africa early 2000s, she can proudly see the growth of independence and community throughout the cooperatives she works with.

Thanks to the support of her family and strong beliefs, through often difficult and sometimes dangerous times (often needing a trusted local chaperone at times of political turmoil), Di has stuck with her values and consistently supported a fully African product. “If we can buy materials that have been grown and manufactured in one geographic area then that gives the people doing the growing and manufacturing the best value for the work they put in. That is why I stay with Africa.”

It is clear she has come to love the troubled continent. “Africa is an amazing place. It is the cradle of humanity. It is ancient yet it is teaming with life and potential. It carries many burdens, poverty being a major one. With poverty often comes corruption so I am fortunate that I work with groups of people who are committed to working hard within the boundaries of what is good, right and decent.”

Working closely with the artisan cooperatives allows her to fully embrace the traditional talents of the weavers and beaders. Di pays homage to this heritage while still focusing on a modern silhouette. Creating a brand that offers well made, long-lasting transeasonal pieces has allowed One Colour (www.onecolour.com.au) to develop naturally as opposed to rushing into it. This in turn has allowed Di to keep her promises and build a business that, like her clothes, is set up for a long lasting future.

When asked how One Colour’s ethos flows into her daily life, Di humbly replies, “I don’t live in a perfect world, but rather than feel guilty about having it so good, I tend to be thankful for what I have and then strive to pursue the goal of fair and ethical purchasing and living as much as I can.”