Hand/Eye Magazine spotlights the collaboration between Kahina Giving Beauty and Fashion, love Africa in their annual Craft & Compassion Issue.
“In early 2012, Katharine L’Heureux and Ryan Clements, founders, respectively, of Kahina Giving Beauty and “Fashion. love, Africa”, embarked on a collaboration that links organic agricultural practices, environmentally sound craft-based production, income generation initiatives, socially responsible consumption, and, above all, women from around the world. The result, a limited edition blue bag produced specifically for Kahina Giving Beauty by “Fashion. love, Africa”, embodies the power of the handmade to sustain communities by reviving and preserving traditions, as well as fostering new ones.
Katharine L’Heureux founded Kahina Giving Beauty in 2008 after discovering the benefits of argan oil as a nourishing moisturizer for the skin while traveling in the dry Moroccan desert. Inspired by the rich traditions surrounding the use of this native plant, L’Heureux embarked on a journey that would bring organic argan oil to women outside Morocco, while simultaneously supporting women’s cooperatives and other sustainable businesses in the region south of Agadir, where the company’s oil is produced. In the four years since its inception, Kahina Giving Beauty has become a trusted participant in Morocco’s argan oil sector, as well as a valued partner to the communities where the oil is created.
At the core of Kahina Giving Beauty’s philosophy is the goal of connecting women across the world through the practices surrounding beauty. It was only natural, then, when the company joined forces with “Fashion. love, Africa,” a company that grew out of the enormous resourcefulness of a group of women living in the Gioto Garbage Slum outside of Nakuru, Kenya. When founder, Ryan Clements, met these women, part of a community living in extreme poverty, on a trip to Kenya, they were transforming post consumer garbage, grocery, and street vendor bags into saleable hand-crocheted accessories.
Clements’ young company works with fifteen of these women to create a line of bags appropriate for the global market. The materials still come from the active garbage dump Gioto. Once collected, the bags are sanitized, dried, and then cut into strips in preparation for crocheting. The initiative offers a consistent income to the women involved, and additionally gives back to the community by contributing ten dollars of the remaining profit from each bag sale to relocation efforts for the community, education sponsorship for the children of Gioto, and medical assistance for all community members.
The bag “Fashion. Love, Africa” designed for Kahina Giving Beauty is bright blue, a hue chosen by L’Heureux for its
resemblance to the sky she encounters on her trips to Morocco. The closure is made from argan nuts. The bag is an object that communicates tradition, resourcefulness, and a deep respect for the interconnectedness of women around the world.”