Selected from an applicant pool of over 1000 projects, the finalists for Cartier Award 2014 come from 15 different countries. They all lead compagnies. UFFP met one of the finalist who became Laureate for Sub- Saharan Africa, at the press launch and lunch of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award this past October 2014, in Paris.
Bamboo Revolution, South Africa
Designs and markets bamboo Watches
Bamboo Revolution, aims at altering consumers perceptions by persuading them to become Eco conscious, because sustainable fashion can be beautiful and stylish!
By Fériel Berraies Guigny for UNITED FASHION FOR PEACE. Photo Courtesy of UFFP and Diane Cazelles
Interview with UFFP
Tell us about you ? My name is Amy de Castro, I was studying Entrepreneurship in my University and me and five other students, we we given five dollars and we were required to come up with a project that would be marketable and sustainable. We came up with the idea of not creating just another rest watch but rather, a really unique functional product.
Stylish and sustainable? Yes we wanted the client to feel good about the product. We use bamboo instead of plastic, we keep it natural and on its most simplistic form. And in term of the way we run our business, we are really focused on environment and treating well people. Our focus is not profit at all.
A revolution? Indeed, because it has never been done before!
A watch that comes out of Africa, a watch that also creates employment, at this time, we have only a woman who is a full time employee and local craftsmen that come from Africa.
Where do you get the bamboo? For now we don’t a have the resources in Africa, so we import it from China, we design and assemble it in South Africa.
Tell us about your Cartier experience? It was an amazing experience that gave me a platform to show my business and project. I realise also the value of networking and the quality of the people I met, as well.
When we tell ethical fashion, does it speak to you, like UNITED FASHION FOR PEACE ? I think that people need to consider how they spend their money when it comes to fashion. I have also experienced the fact, that people are moving away from the bigger brands that have ridiculous margins, because it has no sustainable business practices. I think that sustainable fashion can become a trend !
Social entrepreneurship, the good path? It is in my business model, I know that today so much of the creativity and the talent I have, comes from Africa. It is also, very difficult to meet international market when you come from Africa, I hope my brand will open up the door to access international markets in the long run.