Afrique Authentique – Authentic Africa is an organization that aims to empower local craftspeople in Burkina Faso in Western Africa. The collective recently showcased its first 100% hand-woven African fabric collection, which matches an ancient traditional craft with modern technology and combines indigenous design with contemporary interpretation. The initiative ensures the cultural survival of West Africa’s traditional hand-loom weaving skills while creating jobs for the people of Burkina Faso.
This program was initiated as a partnership between the British European Design Group (BEDG) and the London and the Brussels-based Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE). In 2007, an Africa-based NGO called Save Our Skills joined this consortium, while the marketing companyAfrique Authentique – Authentic Africa was set up in Burkina in 2008 to commercialize the venture.
Even though the designs are contemporary, they do hold traditional elements developed by the weavers based on their own design concepts, cultural identities and traditions. The textiles are 100% handmade using locally sourced, organically grown raw materials. The materials are biodegradable, the looms are energy-efficient, and the project empowers locals not only with jobs but also with marketing skills!
Images courtesy of Nicola Thornley