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Accessories brand Sahel began life in 2008 in the desert of Burkina Faso, where founder and former fashion editor Charlie Davies spent seven years living amongst the Fulani. Moving back to London Sahel became a vehicle for bringing high-end Burkinabe craft skills and products to international audiences. 

Sahel is influenced by Fulani culture, in particular, the equestrian centred traditions that see the horses adorned with vibrant-hued tassels to accentuate their movements and draw attention, whilst harnesses with strong braided straps are expertly hand woven by highly skilled leather artisans within the community. Sahel creates bags and accessories that pay homage to these skills, marrying the traditional of the local leather makers with those of traditional British bridle makers, putting the diversity and exceptional beauty in craftsmanship at the centre of Sahel’s products. 


Cream Leather Didi Craftsmanship from Burkina Faso


Indigo Bamba Bag Sahel Craftsmanship from Burkina Faso


Sahel Blush Bebe Bag Craftsmanship from Burkina Faso

The leather bags made locally in Burkina Faso or in the English countryside using sustainably sourced leather, a by-product of the food industry, and the straps and tassel finishings are made using goat leather from Burkina Faso. Traditional fabrics such as authentic, naturally dyed bogolan/mudcloth, and indigo are also used to create some of the products. 


– Tapiwa Matsinde


Additional details:

for further information about Sahel visit:


[Image credits: The images shown belong to Sahel. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
  • Instagram Image
  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

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