26 Apr Ethical and African-inspired handbags from local brand, WeAllShareRoots
Giving back has never looked so good babes! This is exactly the type of fashion that I am passionate about, it’s the look that keeps on giving back. Well trends may change, bolt African prints will always be in style and the feeling you get from giving back will never stop feeling great!
WeAllShareRoots is an African-inspired handbag brand. Their ethically-made handbags are produced in partnership with small organizations in townships and family-owned SMEs in Cape Town. How inspiring! WeAllShareRoots’ bags contribute to positive change, sustainable development, and poverty alleviation. They are also the first brand in Africa to use Piñatex® (a vegan natural leather alternative), providing unique and trendy fashion pieces made from natural, sustainably-sourced, cruelty-free material. I love how innovative this brand is, these women deserve all the success in the world.
Each bag is a unique creation, mixing local genuine leather or Piñatex® and African inspired prints (shweshwe, wax print, etc.). WeAllShareRoots’ (WASR) bags are original fashion pieces that bring together African colours, modern designs, and respect for our planet and its inhabitants.
WASR provides income and employment to underprivileged communities, through the production of their handbags. For the sewing and the assembly of the bags, they collaborate with a very small CMT, based in SeaWinds/Lavender Hill townships, facing together all the obstacles of non-conventional partnerships and fighting the lack of means. Should you be able to donate sewing machines or supplies to this initiative, please do get in touch. I love seeing these women win!
In 2018, aiming to go further in its ethical commitment, WASR launched a 100% vegan range of handbags. WeAllShareRoots made the choice of using Piñatex®, a new and innovative material intended to be a sustainable alternative to the mass production of leather. Made from natural wastes of the pineapple (you read that right PINEAPPLE), with low water use and reduced waste production, this material does not contain any harmful chemicals, thus enabling a responsible choice for a better future. WASR is proud to show the world that South African fashion brands can include the latest innovations in their ranges.
The bags are available in various African prints and the range includes:
• Ipanapula – The Vegan Clutch, R995
• Lekker – The Foldable Clutch, R980
• Yebo – The Small Clutch, R860
• Sharp Sharp – The Shopping Bag, R920
Small Purses – 100% Offcuts, R300
Below is a Q&A on this fabulous brand
Why this Name?
Up until 2016, there was a powerful piece of graffiti displaying ‘We All Share Roots’ within the District Six area of Cape Town – a district which is symbolic of the injustices suffered during Apartheid. Produced by the Boa Mistura collective, it served to remind that we all have the same roots, roots which lead us back to Africa. Against a backdrop of racial tension, attacks and political divisions, this message seemed like a eureka moment for the brand owner and CEO, Elise, it had to be a part of the adventure. Unity, uniqueness and sharing. It was all there.
Who is behind WeAllShareRoots?
Elise, a former Parisian now living in South Africa, and Rudi, born and bred in Cape Town, join forces on a daily basis to develop the brand and bring the ethical and local vision they have for the project to life. Elise is passionate about African colours and tries to capture them in the bags’ designs. She is the overall coordinator for the project.
Rudi lends his knowledge of the local business
environment and laws to the project.
As for the production, this is carried out by a small network of craftsmen, NGOs and small and medium sized businesses.
WASR ethical commitment and local production:
• Promotion of local resources
• Small-scale production process
• Long-term partnerships with family-owned SMEs, handcrafters and seamstresses in precarious situations
• Individual and personal relationship with each of their suppliers
• Support of local employment and skills development in a country where 1 in 4 people is unemployed
WASR social and societal commitment:
• Placing human beings at the core of the brand
• Research of suppliers out of the mainstream
• Active involvement in the construction of a self-sufficient workshop for their seamstresses from townships
• Slow fashion principles (responsible production mode, no unsold pieces, use of offcuts, etc.)