The Africaba, a large tote bag inspired by bold patterns from West Africa, is the result of a collaboration between Christian Louboutin, his friend Valerie Schlumberger and the residents of La Maison Rose, a Senegalese support centre that works to empower vulnerable women and children. La Maison Rose focuses on helping its residents gain vocational skills, so this collaboration provides both a rehabilitative outlet and important training.
Designed by Louboutin, and hand crafted by the women of La Maison Rose, the Africaba is clearly inspired by the craftsmanship of West Africa. Each handmade tote features vibrant colours, bold graphic prints and straps embellished with Louboutin’s signature spikes. Although the structure of the bag is pre-designed, the women of La Maison are given the freedom to assemble each tote with creative license. Each tote is assembled with an eclectic combination of fabrics, and finished with an embroidered crest bearing the fashion house’s initials.
The collaboration aims to raise funds for the foundation, with 10% of the proceeds from each Africaba tote going towards the organisation’s work. In addition to raising money, both Schlumberger and Louboutin hope to increase appreciation of traditional African craftsmanship. The Africaba is not only beautiful in aesthetics, but it is also beautiful in meaning; for La Maison Rose, the Africaba represents a beacon of hope for strong women working towards gaining back their independence.