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ROXY x STELLA JEAN - Journey to Madagascar

6:00 AM: On a warm Malagasy morning, our team boards a beach hopper taking off from the Antananarivo tarmac. Direction: Mahajanga, a golden town on the North Coast of the island.
Danielle Black Lyons and Vaimiti Teiefitu take in the view from the air, the sight of the red waters of the Betsiboka river spilling into the Mozambique Channel.

We are here to discover more about Raffia, one of the main productions of this island. It sits at the heart of our collaboration with Italian-Haitian designer Stella Jean.

 

Stella herself is buzzing with excitement. “It’s my first time in Mahajanga and I can’t wait to discover more about raffia and to meet the women and men that contribute to the safekeeping of this beautiful tradition.”

 

On the ground, the air is sweet, filled with the distinct crispness of dried raffia. Spaces are saturated with rainbow strands, dyed using a sustainable process. The plant is one of the great riches of Madagascar and some companies, such as the one that has welcomed us, are determined to keep the production is tune with tradition and environmental protection.

Raffia is born from the inner membrane of a palm leaf, harvested, and dried out before being woven into the pieces we know and love. Danielle, Vaimiti and Stella each grab a young raffia sprout and set it into the forest’s ground. The beginning of a new journey for these three plants.

 

Back in Antananarivo, we enter the atelier that has produced the Stella Jean x ROXY bags. The place is filled with light, music, laughter, and energy. This structure was born from the mind of two incredible young female entrepreneurs, dedicated to providing local women with a safe and humane work environment, an extended family to care for them and their children. Everywhere around us hands are actively braiding, weaving, sewing. Vaimiti and Danielle ask to borrow a hook, eager to try their hands at a creation. Stella sits with a group of artisans and observes their work before being asked to join in. An hour later, she pins raffia pads to a white t-shirt modelled by an excited young woman.
The artisans take a break to dance, a concept designed to help with mental and physical health. We soak in the spirit of this atelier, deeply grateful for this experience and the encounters made here.

 

The Stella Jean x ROXY “We Make Waves” raffia bag is a celebration.
It observes the deep transcultural reality of sisterhood. It embodies generations of knowledge and expertise. It’s a work of love.