On Christian Louboutin’s Collaboration to Create a New Bag Range in Senegal

Afribaba is a limited edition range of bags created by Christian Louboutin in collaboration with La Maison Rose charity, a home in Senegal which provides education for women in traditional Sengalese embroidery and craftsmanship.

According to WWD, Valérie Schlumberger, the woman who runs La Maison Rose charity, has known Christian Louboutin for over 30 years. She also lives partly in Senegal and created a shop, Compagnie du Sénégal et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, or CSAO 20 years ago to bring West African furniture, accessories and textiles to Europe.

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Considering the duration of their friendship, and Schlumberger’s affiliation with Senegal, this collaboration doesn’t come as a surprise. The launch of the Tote Bags -made from wax fabrics sourced by  Ondine Saglio, Schlumberger’s daughter- was celebrated at Le Comptoir Général, an African bar tucked away by Paris’ Canal Saint-Martin.

We wanted the charm and beauty of the African fabrics, and to make the bag perfectly structured to show two types of excellence [Senegalese and French craftsmanship] -Louboutin,

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I buy all kinds of African pieces and furniture,” he continued, referring to Schlumberger’s shop, CSAO, on Rue Elzévir in Paris’ Marais district.

This could count as a step further in the inclusion of Africa in the global market, through craftsmanship. However, we are still skeptical about the role such collaborations play in the scalability of local artisanship. This comes to mind, considering that the tote bags are priced at $1,250, and only Ten percent of the bag’s proceeds will support the nonprofit organization.

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At what point can we refer to such collaborations as trade, and not aid? Share your thoughts.

This range of bags is also sold on Selfridges.

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Author: Kachi