The A-freak-A (Ambitions freak Association)believes that handcraft is the catalyst for an economy serving people and nature. In this way they mainly work with two coops in Senegal, chosen for their exemplarity and the hope embodied by their work. This kind of partnership contributes, on the one hand, to revitalize Ndem, an isolated Sahelian village, and on the other hand, to train out-of-school youngsters from Mbao, a fisherman village in Dakar’s suburb.
Project 2012:Strengthening textile design skills
Last January, A-freak-A started a great cooperation project with both coops, by setting up a training program supported by the Aquitaine Region. The aim is to encourage textile design within both structures in order to develop at term their own collection in a total autonomy. Thus, twenty men and women within both coops were selected to follow a common training to strengthen their skills on two aspects: design and natural dyeing. The A-freak-A afro surfwear is used as a support in order to put into practice new methodological tools and to explore new development paths.
A creative partnership to ensure the first session
A-freak-A naturally found support through Quiksilver for this project. Both coops could take advantage of Quiksilver’s know-how and creativity. The Quiksilver Foundation has dispatched Roxy’s artistic director, Valérie Thévenot to coordinate the design team while Ibrahima Ndoye, textile chemical engineer, was testing with the dyeing team some new natural pigments in order to extend the colors’ range. The team’s generosity and enthusiasm allowed to reach the first session’s objectives: create a clothing line with new natural colors, designed by craftsmen supervised by experts.
Some distinguished visitors
Quiksilver Foundation’s ambassadors (Stéphanie Gilmore, Tom Frager and Alain Riou) honored interns by visiting the Mbao site. They were amazed by discovering the work done during their first two weeks. Every ambassador wasimpressed by the design originality and the colors made from roots, leaves or clay.
A bridge between people
This project was the opportunity to build bridges between people and initiatives who do not seem to have anything in common: The surf industry and the African handcraft, rural coops and urban coops, International sportsmen and local craftsmen, fashion and solidarity… Experience shows us that despite those differences, or thanks to them, we can create amazing things together.
More to come in Spring
Those bridges are just a beginning. They should allow coops to elaborate samples and to develop themselves. In a close future, manual sewing machine will be replaced by electrical sewing machines, which are much more efficient. Rainwater collection systems will be integrated to dyeing workshops and water will be recycled in order to save a precious resource, especially in this arid African land.
Stay tuned to see where those bridges will lead…