Far from falling for the ambient humanitarian and fair trade, Mehdi Slimani, founder of the footwear brand Sawa wants to be the echo of modern Africa.
The one that produces, undertakes and negotiates. But with the same objectives as any other company in the world, just with a different focus.
The Story behind the name
Extraordinary circumstances for Medhi and his associates whose original idea was to produce loads of shoes in Eto’o’s country. From raw materials gleaned on the continent between Cameroon, Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt and South Africa. The name Sawa is in itself a summit meeting of the O.U.A. Given in reference to the Cameroonian ethnicity, Sawa also has a meaning in Swahili “good” and in Arabic “together”.
It’s not that simple!
The first results were encouraging, but despite their good will our buddies failed. The Arab Spring, the roads blocked in Cameroon, repeated bribes has been elevated to the status of Art. Cameroon has KILLED them! After questioning himself, Sawa walked on the other side of the Erg. To see if the grass was greener, more precisely, in Ethiopia.
After questioning himself, Sawa walked on the other side of the Erg to see if the grass was greener, more precisely, in Ethiopia. Country on which Medhi is quite laudatory about. Between political stability, 2 digits economic growth despite oil shortage and lack of shore, the know-how and the quality of the raw materials.
The Future is bright!
It is therefore shared between Addis Ababa and the Parisian Barbès offices that Sawa is being rebuilt. And shines even brighter internationally. The distribution of the brand has been redesigned these last years. Sawa is refocusing on flagship stores, e-commerce and a few department stores. No one is a prophet in his own country, you will only find very few Sawa in France. But trendsetters in Asia and the US are fond of it.
Is it because of the refine design codes drawn in a parcel of Douala? Or the quality of materials and the shaping? Or the numerous collaborations with prestigious names as the Hotel Michel Berger in Berlin, Oxmo Puccino or Public Enemy? Certainly a mix of the three.
Sawa brand has not reached its full potential yet. But the brand which has a foot in Africa and another in France, dreams of a 100% African collaboration. With an artist, tracks have been cleared but nothing concrete is out for the moment.