Why you should know about Jacmel & Co: This bag will give you a glimpse of a whole different world
Move over avocados. The calabash will be the new fruit everyone is talking about if Lucie Cincinatis has anything to do with it. Holding a degree from Columbia University, the Belgium native is attempting to make a dent in the fashion industry and the purpose economy with her new company Jacmel & Co.
Cincinatis’s company employs local female artisans in Haiti to hand-make leather bags out of the calabash. With this project, Lucie’s mission is to promote jobs, empower women and foster sustainable living. According to the Jacmel & Co site, Haiti has gone from being the Republic of NGOs to the Republic of Unemployment. Around 75% of Haitians are either unemployed or try to make ends meet in the informal economy. Her other goal is to give exposure to the beauty of Haiti (the company’s Instagram account is pretty envy inducing) and try to change the perception that this is a completely impoverished nation that has no hope.
She currently has eight different unique bag designs made out of the calabash, a member of the gourd family. It is a small evergreen tropical tree with simple leaves and a rough bark. Its fruits are green, with white flesh and smooth skin. The calabash was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, not grown primarily for food, but for use as a water container. The bottle gourd has been used by traditional cultures in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas for thousands of years. In Haiti, more specifically, the calabash is thought to be a “spiritual fruit” and is often used during voodoo sacred rituals.
And those designs are currently catching the eyes of some pretty important people. Man Repeller, arguably one of the most important fashion site in the blogosphere, recently promoted the company and actress and activist Sophia Bush tweeted about the bag and ordered one. Cincinatis talked with us here at Your Coffee Break about why she thinks the fashion world is embracing her creation:
“I think the fashion world tends to be a little bit saturated, especially in terms of accessories and everyone is wearing the same bags/shoes…. Bloggers, models, and other fashion influencers are looking to set new trends, and be the first one to speak about a new product. It’s good for their image as well.
On the other hand, while I believe my calabash bags are rock and roll, I think everybody connects to the mission tied to the product. I never wanted to be just another fashion designer. This all started with Haiti, its people and its uniquely talented artisan population. So yes the product matters, but the fact that I am currently working with an artisan population in a challenging third world country is very inspiring for many people, including celebs and fashion people.”
So when considering a new bag for summer, do think about this one as you will be doing so much more than making a fashion statement.
Photo courtesy of: Man Repeller