Pagabags, une aventure textile et sociale – BURKINA FASO

Pagabags, une aventure textile et sociale – BURKINA FASO


I’m Meredyth Aillloud, i’m american. I live in France since … 30 years. To talk about Pagabags, it’s an ecological and ethical fashion brand. We recycle plastic bags by weaving with cotton to create handbags and fashion accessories. Since 2015, plastic bags are forbidden in Burkina Faso. but in fact, these new plastic bags, which flood the market in Burkina since 2015, are biodegradable my problem is that biodegradable means degradable
which means no recycling From 2009 to 2011, I was here, working on the waste issue with the municipality When we worked together on the waste upcycling, I was touched and inspired by waste sorters. It’s important to understand, women, who were sorting wastes, were payed by me. So, when I stopped plastic bags, they needed a source of income I trained them to make traditional bracelets, because it’s something they already knew, it’s easy-to-make and raw materials are local. So now, we are following Meredyth. We are at the waste sorting center where women are working. I explain, in fact, there are traditional bracelets from all West Africa I got a tutor to teach them how create with me. It took us two years to have beautiful products. And Lucienne never managed to do well. When I arrived, I told myself “what can I do ? I can’t buy anything. I have to sell it.” So we had the idea to make small bracelets. Instead of 10 threads, you have only 4. So it’s the birth of all these small bracelets. To create a ethical fashion brand in Africa, first step is to get together people, to unite people with there own skills Because I’m in the recycling, it means to unite waste sorters, make sure they were sorting the waste in the good way. After that, to bring the bags to weavers, who were cutting the bags and weaving them with cotton. And after, I had to design products with tailors, because in Africa we don’t wearing the same bag design. They don’t use so much zippers. So I had to train tailors to design the products for the European market. I got all this people together in Pagabags. Untill 2017 I did that and it was getting well. From the moment, i cannot recycle anymore, I decide to change Pagabags, in a new collection : “Imagine Plants” It’s allowing me to work with 100% cotton and natural dye to declare war on pollution issue [african music] We are in Pagabags’ weaving workshop. Meredyth trained them and follow them since many years. And now we will visit the workshop [african music] [chidren’s laught] My economic model is social entrepreneurship of sustainable fashion. That means that not just me, it’s me and the women I can’t decide everything. I can’t know what’s happen. so there is a long work, I would say 2 or 3 years when you have to help people to understand what you do and what they win. It’s an association, there is a president, reports. She can take notes, make delivery notes, make receipts. It reassures customers, because it’s professional I met people and they want to work with you because they see the quality of our fabrics Solange, what is a sustainable pagne? textile, pagne, it’s cotton. Sustainable textile means no chemical products because chemical products give you a headache. You told me. Neighbourhood wasn’t happy, we saw traces on the street. It pollutes ! So sustainable textile, doesn’t pollute ! In June, I offered you work bogolan, natural dye with plants and I also offered you work biological dye. we could train you one or the other. I think, you’re interessed by both. But we’ll begin with bogolan I would like, people who work bogolan here, there is a lot begin to work with fabric I produce with the women it will create a local market. And my other idea like in the crowdfunding i made, is to pay the trainning women to natural dye to give them their autonomy [african music] how could I give them health insurrance ? how could I give them evening class, for the ones who had leave school I manage that. Women don’t ask me. When I said, I’m in a partnership with women, I don’t come here and say : “I want ten blue pagnes” I take weeks to work with women and I offer to participate with design and express themselves about what we do together [african music] So now we are designing prototypes for Pagabags’ new collection [african music and talk] So that’s ‘sica’, in fact it’s used to prepare the fabric and fix the dye after it’s make like a yellow base it will be transform by other plants, which will be add after that After using sica, we have this yellow. After that, if we want to make white patterns we use washing powder and soap to remove sica to remove the fixing agent, and when we’ll put it on dye what it was washed, will stay white because there will have no fixing agent anymore [african music] we will decide after … I think it was a table runner … but we didn’t have enougth fabrics … [african music] I’m finishing with telling, those who like social entrepreneurship I think it’s impossible to do it without health and education. For me it’s impossible If somebody disregard that, he or she will miss the target It’s also impossible without involve women. It’s about auto-promotiob and it’s difficult to do it without using local material. But around all these social entrepreneurship issue, a person who want to get into social buisness in Africa.
(with baby cries [laught]) It’s also money. You have to know, people doesn’t have any bank account they haven’t access to information. So how do you pay them ? There are a lot of difficulty, that you have to know when you are starting something because it’s a shame to start a action if you stop it two years after because you didn’t anticipated. So maybe to begin a social buisness, it’s important to choose a country you know, and if it’s possible in a language you know and take 6 month of reflexions and observations, because engage people in an adventure and let them down after, it’s a pity. That what I want to add. So it was a beautiful week with Meredyth. We were following her in all her trip There was craftpeople, with whom she already had a connection since years for example she knows weavers since 5 years but with others, she made new connections so we saw different steps in their relationship and in partnership construction It was very interessant and educative for us to see the social entrepreneurship aspect she is using textile design like a tool for her social project It’s not just to teach them how to weave it’s also allow them to emancipate So there is a big place for women empowerment and craftsmen empowerment in general and in this context, she began with the occidental market, to developp their economy, because it’s an easier market to find. and today she is searching how they can be autonomous and how they can found their own market amongst themselves. – Thank you Meredyth
– And congratulation !

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