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P1000128

Ivoiry Coast Ivoiry Coast Ivoiry Coast Ivoiry Coast Ivoiry Coast

Uniwax

Since it was founded in 1968, Uniwax has been the West African leader in wax printing. Its products, sold under the Uniwax and Woodin brands, are exported to more than ten countries in West and Central Africa. Uniwax uses different processes to produce its product range. The fabrics are coated in wax and then dyed using a specific process that guarantees a very high colour fastness. From the engraving of copper cylinders to dye baths, more than 20 steps are required to produce a print!

Uniwax has been the long-standing partner of Panafrica since 2015. Every season, we go to Abidjan to select the most beautiful prints for our collections. We are fortunate to work directly with Uniwax, which gives us great flexibility and the chance to customise the selected prints in order to provide unique collections.

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Useful info…

The wax market in Africa is today totally deregulated by the importation of Chinese wax, which is of lower quality and 2-3 times cheaper than wax fabric produced in Africa (Chinese wax costs on average 6,000 CFA francs. A wax printed in the Ivory Coast is sold for 18,000 CFA francs). Whether in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana or the Ivory Coast, many factories have closed down, unable to withstand this competition.

Our choice of working with Uniwax allows us to support local production of a high-quality authentic fabric.

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Ghana Ghana Ghana Ghana Ghana

L'atelier d'Esther

We met Esther and her team in 2019 and fell under the spell of this great talented and energetic lady. It’s in her small workshop north of Accra (capital of Ghana) that Esther, her daughter and their 4 employees create original prints and continue a well-known craft in Ghana: artisanal Batik printing. Every season we develop new prints for our collections together with them.

Atelier Batik
Atelier Batik

Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Burkina Faso

Xoomba

We buy our organic cotton fabrics from Xoomba in Burkina Faso. Xoomba is an association which was founded in 2009 to create a complete production chain for organic cotton textiles (GOTS certified) in Burkina Faso. In Burkina Faso, rainfall allows for the cultivation of excellent cotton without watering, whereas cotton cultivation usually consumes large amounts of drinking water. Burkina Faso also benefits from having all the means to process cotton: ginning and spinning.

Xoomba uses environmentally friendly fibre reactive dyes on cotton without heavy metals and works with artisan weavers on mechanical looms that do not require electricity. Xoomba employs about 25 people (mainly women) who receive a higher salary than the average income in Burkina Faso. Xoomba also trains young designers to produce finished made in Burkina Faso products so that the maximum added value benefits the country’s economy.

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boutique Esther 2
boutique Esther 2

Morocco Morocco Morocco Morocco Morocco

The workshop of Hicham and his father

The relationship between the Hicham workshop and Panafrica dates back to our beginning. When we first met in 2015, we immediately felt a pleasant atmosphere in this family workshop and a unique expertise guaranteeing high quality products. Hicham is very professional and helps us to develop our collections.

This workshop is certified by an external body and complies with the ILO (International Labour Organisation) rules. This guarantees a code of social responsibility and ensures that PANAFRICA sneakers are manufactured in an environment where workers’ rights are respected.

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Each employee benefits from:

– An employment contract and a guaranteed minimum wage
– Paid holidays (3 weeks per year)
– Health insurance
– An increased salary for each additional hour worked (+20% and a maximum of 2 hours overtime per week)
-Regular training and quality management

We visit regularly to ensure that our productions are running smoothly and share the behind-the-scenes footage with you on Instagram.

Our workshop is regularly audited by independent external bodies.

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Transparency

Transparency is at the heart of our project. We haven’t worked with an intermediary from the start, and we know the men and women behind every Panafrica product. This transparency is a daily requirement as we have a duty to tell you what we do, how and with whom.

Since 2016, we have been building a sustainable project and we have nothing to hide. At a time where ecology and ethics are on everyone’s lips, our duty is to give you the key to understand our project.

From cotton cultivation to our logistics warehouse, via our assembly workshops, PANAFRICA will not hold any secrets from you…

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Cotton cultivation

Cotton cultivation

  • National Union of Cotton Producers in Burkina Faso (UNPCB)
  • Assembled in the form of cooperatives
  • Organic cotton cultivation without watering, Ecocert certified
  • Fairtrade label

Download the Ecocert (1) and FairTrade (2) labels

Cotton weaving and dyeing

Cotton weaving and dyeing

  • Xoomba
  • 20 employees in Bobo Dioulasso (mainly women)
  •  Mechanical looms that do not require electricity
  • Low impact dyeing and wastewater treatment

Download the GOTS label 

Sneaker assembly

Sneaker assembly

  • The workshop of Hicham and his father (122 employees, including 30 women)
  •   44 hours of work per week on average (national average: 49 hours/week)
  •  Excellent working conditions according to the last external audit report (minimum wage, number of hours worked, 100% of employees under contract)

Download the external WCA (Workplace Conditions Assessment) report

Wax production site

Wax production site

  • Uniwax based in Yopougon
  • West African leader in authentic wax printing
  • Construction of a health and social centre in 2012
  • Free healthcare for employees and their families

Cotton weaving

Cotton weaving

  • Weaving in Charlieu
  • Organic and recycled cotton fabric (95% certified organic fibres)
  • Purchase of plain and recycled cotton for our printed fabrics

Download the GRS (link 1), GOTS (link  2) and OekoTex (link 3) labels

Logistics warehouse

Logistics warehouse

  •  Consolidating the entire Panafrica stock
  •  B2B and B2C shipments

Batik dyeing workshop

Batik dyeing workshop

  •  The workshop of Esther and her daughter (4 employees)
  • Traditional wax printing (foam or wooden stamps)
  •  All steps are carried out manually

Leather tannery

Leather tannery

  • Mastrotto
  • Cattle hides for consumption
  • Semi-vegetable tanned leather
  • LWG Gold rated label indicating compliance with safety standards, reduction of substances hazardous to health and the environment, reduced water and energy consumption

Download the LWG label

Plastic fibre weaving

Plastic fibre weaving

  • Carlom
  • Fibre produced by Antex (Seaqual), OekoTex and GRS certified
  • Ocean recovered plastic

Download OekoTex (link 1) and GRS (link 2) labels

Manufacturing of soles

Manufacturing of soles

  • Company making our soles from recycled materials
  • 70% recycled materials from production waste and our old soles crushed and recycled (Rebirth programme)
  •  PETA certified (Vegan)

Download sole composition certification

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Our next challenges

PANAFRICA is a global project, a work in progress. Like any project, it’s a long-term project.  Our ambition is to go ever further without being afraid to question our choices and our actions. There are still many challenges to be addressed, the main ones being:
Rebirth

Rebirth: a building block.

The circularity of the products we create is a complex subject and a huge challenge. Our dream is to create our new products from worn products that have reached the end of their life. We have created Rebirth to offer all our customers the option to return their used items and give them a second life (reconditioning where possible or recycling)

However, a pair of sneakers is made up of many materials with different properties (fabric, leather, lining, laces, eyelets etc.). Not all these elements can be crushed, recycled and repurposed in the same way. Restoring pairs of sneakers at the end of their life has therefore not yet been fully achieved and major investments are needed to aim for absolute circularity.

Voir la collection Rebirth
Cuir

Limit leather use

We use leather in manufacturing some PANAFRICA styles. Despite the undeniable qualities of leather (durability, comfort), we are aware of the environmental impact and the ethical problems it poses. Nowadays we use semi-vegetable tanned leather (low chrome) and reduce its use, season after season. For example, in 2016, 80% of our collections contained animal leather. In 2020, it’s 40%. At the same time, we are looking into the use of more ecological or natural substitutes for leather without compromising the life span of our products.

Camion

Reduce transport

Our collections are shipped by truck from the production workshops to our logistics warehouse near Chambéry in France. The ecological impact is therefore much lower than by air. However, our current logistics process is complex. For example, the wax fabric purchased in West Africa is routinely sent to France for quality control and industrial processing before being shipped back to Morocco for our styles to be assembled. Our factory does not currently have the capacity to process this stage directly on site.

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An end to packaging?

All our products are packed in recycled cardboard boxes, and, at the Panafrica workshop we sell our pairs of sneakers without boxes for customers who want that.

Until 2019, we limited packaging to the absolute minimum, but to protect our products throughout their logistical route we had to add a second packaging. This choice, for a customer experience which meets our standards, has a significant financial and ecological cost, but at the moment we have no other solution.