May 17, 2016

Afrika Tiss
Weaving Their Way Through

Hélène Schmitt
Afrika Tiss Weaving Their Way Through

Created in March 2011 in Paris by Mariette Chapel, Afrika Tiss is an association fighting against the poverty of craftswomen in Burkina Faso by enabling them to fulfil themselves through their work and expertise.

With the help of its local partner, the Association for the Protection of Children and the Advancement of Women (APEPF), Afrika Tiss is involved in the production and the marketing of upscale accessories and textile collections which are entirely crafted by hand and sold under the Tiss & Tik brand.

Respect, fairness, independence and the sense of sharing are four key values for the association whichs aims to promote fair trade and the organic textile industry, as well as preserve the environment.

With 722,000 tons of cotton seeds produced in 2015-2016, Burkina Faso is the leading country in cotton production in Africa, only 2% of which were processed by the textile industry and local crafts and the textile industry in 2012.

Since the summer of 2013 in Ouagadougou, a centre of excellence dedicated to textile gives all craftsmen the opportunity to follow different courses both practical - learning new techniques in weaving, dyeing, textile making - and theoretical - discovering new trends (eco-design, creativity, quality), entrepreneurship - and then use their skills to produce collections initiated by Afrika Tiss.

In 2016, Made in Town hosted Design for Peace, the result of a seven-week residency project in Ouagadougou, which was conducted by Afrika Tiss under the initiative of the UNHCR and saw six young French designers collaborate with seventeen Tuareg artisans to create together a first collection of decorative items and fashion accessories.

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Hélène Schmitt

Hélène Schmitt

Made in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. After completing a law degree, she turned her attention to the luxury sector with the Master of Science in Luxury and Design Management at the Institut de Commerce de Nancy (ICN Business School). Passionate about know-how since her childhood, she was fortunate to be raised in contact with two popular crafts from her native region and from France – textile manufacturing and baking – and experience their manufacturing process. She learned the values of craftsmanship, which for her are the respect of raw materials, the perfection of the products and the proximity with artisans, industrials and designers. Curious by nature, she wants to commit herself to promoting the numerous skills, cultures and customs in France and around the world, as well as share with the public the stories about fabrication that come along with them.

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