247. Amazing (Ore Ofe) Co-operative Society Limited Dublin, Ireland

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Coop Name: Co-operative Support Services ( CSS Ireland) N° of Employees: 48
City: Dublin N° of Members: 7
Country: Ireland Year of formation: 2006
Website: http://www.css.coop
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About this coop:

Co-operative Support Services (CSS) is a social enterprise development agency serving the diverse communities of island of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Its work is focused on development and support for democratically managed models of enterprise to meet the needs of local communities. The key function of CSS is the promotion, development and support of co-operative/social enterprise sector as part of local sustainable economic development. CSS encourages and supports potential community entrepreneurs to put their ideas into practice. The approach creates ownership of the proposal amongst all involved and commitment to the long-term sustainability of the enterprise.

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This co-operative group was established in 2008 by six immigrants from Africa. The venture engages in promoting and supplying Afro-European clothing. It is a fashion design business that mixes African and European fabrics to create beautiful clothing.

In the summer of last year, the venture organized a fashion fair in which they exhibited a rich variety of clothes, dresses, skirts, trousers, tops, sports wears and other outfits with a special touch of African and European motifs. Many of the designs use a combination of beautiful African hand woven fabrics from Ghana such as Kente, and Adire and Akwete from the Yoruba and Igbo of Nigeria, respectively. These are rare fabrics which the designers blend with European fabrics to a great and unique effect.

The products of Ore Ofe members are in hot demand among Africans in Ireland, as they are mostly ceremonial outfits usually designed for and worn during communal social occasions. They are an important expression of African cultural sensibility as well as being visual representations of African history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, moral values, social codes of conducts and aesthetic principles. However, mixing these traditional fabrics with European ones is a powerful statement about the interaction of cultures, which modern global migration has produced. According to one member of Ore Ofe, the mixture of fabrics from these two cultures is a suggestion that peoples from different cultures can live together and respect their different traditional values. In fact, clients of Ore Ofe products include various non-African groups, including the Irish.

One particular limitation of the Ore Ofe Co-operative Society is the need to diversify its efforts by introducing traditional fabrics from other African countries, which will diversify and also enrich the range of their production. This can also increase the clientele base as well as hold a promise of sustainability. Another limitation generally cited by members is the difficulty in getting constant and uninterrupted supply of these fabrics from Africa. Currently, the costs of importation of these products from Africa are high and this makes the clothes they manufacture a bit expensive and unaffordable to many people.

Author of this story
Mrinal Gaurav
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