Effectuation Chronicle #27 : Umòja, A Story On Your Sneakers

March 22, 2019

The search for meaning, impact and human relationship is increasingly predominant in our society. This research has led to the awareness of a consumption that is not very responsible and not very respectful of the environment. Many brands are trying to restore meaning to their production by bludgeoning advertising showing small producers all over the world. But what about projects that have been under the radar of consumers and are fighting for cleaner consumption?

In a nutshell. Cultural sneakers.

Umòja Shoes is a “solidarity, artistic, cultural and human” project. So many values gathered in a daily consumer product, a pair of sneakers. The creation of the brand is based on African natural products from organic farming. Forget the mass production of cotton and make way for natural fibres produced by small African communities with great know-how.

To replace the traditional leather of shoes, Umòja uses manually reworked tree bark, a process considered by UNESCO to be “the oldest human know-how in textiles”. Materials little known by consumers that give sneakers their personality and history: banana tree fibres, raffia and traditional weavings will make you discover the dexterity of African craftsmanship.

Idea. Back to the roots.

Dieuveil, a Master of Law student, is getting closer and closer to the end of his studies without having the intimate conviction to start on the right path. At the beginning of the job search, Dieuveil had a revelation: “I didn’t want to evolve in this elitist sphere of law, I wanted to find human beings in my daily life”. Without further ado, the young student from Brest stopped his studies and became a volunteer at Secours Populaire.

Following his volunteer experience, Dieuveil travels to Africa to see his loved ones and the landscapes of his childhood. Then in Côte d’Ivoire and Benin, he discovered “a very rich African craft that we do not find Europe”. From this journey, the idea of exporting this little-used know-how to create new alternatives grew.

Article to be found in full on Forbes