If there are two things I never thought I’d hear talked about within the same breath, it would be Christian Louboutin and Dakar, Senegal. Yet here we are.
Louboutin, who has quite the near fanatical following for his line of high end designer shoes and brand identity that is nearly unparalled in the accessories industry (the Louboutin red sole is social currency from Adelaide to Addis Ababa) is finally succumbing to the need for a more ethical brand image and collaborating with La Maison Rose, a non-profit organization where “women learn the traditional Senegalese skill of embroidery, ensuring them a trade.” for a new accessories collection. This new collection is called Africaba.
Now, the Christian Louboutin brand is doing things a little differently than most other ethical fashion endeavours like Studio one-eighty nine and Brother Vellies. The majority of the material sourcing and primary fabrication will be done in Dakar, Senegal. Primary fabrication includes dying with local dyes, embroidery and primary stitching with traditional Senegalese techniques being promoted by designers like Selly Raby Kane. But the actual manufacturing and post production will happen in Louboutin’s factories in Italy. Understandable considering the bags will be retailing for $1000 a pop.
Now we don’t know how much of the proceeds from this will go to the actual artisans who produce in Kenya and it kind of reeks of exploitation. But we will wait and see how things go.
Either way congratulations La Maison Rose, this will only bring their efforts much need attention. And who can argue with that?