Simone Cipriani

Founder and Chief Technical Advisor, Ethical Fashion Initiative (UN)

Simone Cipriani created and manages the Ethical Fashion Initiative of the joint UN and WTO agency, the International Trade Centre (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. Cipriani’s 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, Vivienne Westwood, Stella Jean and Stella McCartney. While Mr. Cipriani has years of experience working in some of the world’s 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 Initiative’s 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.