ARTESAN – which has just launched with its debut ‘Patois Collection’ – is a luxury slow-fashion brand that uses up-cycled and vintage materials integrated with heritage African crafts to create unique gender-neutral utilitarian garments.
With sustainability in mind, the brand is dedicated to creating minimal waste and give vintage a new lease of life. For the debut ‘Patois’ capsule collection, the brand has collaborated with women’s communities in Cameroon and Kenya to create a range of reworked vintage military garments, combined with heritage African beadwork. Sourced in the UK from army surplus, the garments are then deconstructed and refitted in a London workshop, before sending the patterns to Cameroon where they are hand-beaded. The process takes up to 6-8 days to complete and each item is numbered and limited.
Artesan’s Background: This Patois collection is inspired by Cameroons Grassland culture and Bamileke royal beadwork. Drawing-up inspiration from her own Bamileke roots, Artesans’ Parisian-born Creative Director Anne-Lise Fotso – who is a Parsons School of Design graduate – launched the brand with the aim to celebrate craftsmanship, while remixing the symbolism of African beadwork with European army garments for a modern retrospective. Through artisan production, she wanted to create the opportunity to integrate craft techniques into the collection; creating the opportunity for the artisans to develop their skills whilst connecting consumers more deeply with the people and processes behind the garment.
Anne-Lise Fotso is the creative force behind ARTESAN. Founding the brand from a passion for quality, craftsmanship and individual expression. The three continents in which she has worked and lived have inspired her deeply – their people, their style, their culture. She has seen how ethical and sustainable approaches to fashion can maximise the benefits for local communities and the environment. ARTESAN is a culmination of both her professional and personal experiences.