Jacmel & Co - Vegetal Couture
We love it when friends of ilovebelgium send us new Belgian brands or initiatives, so please hit us up with all your discoveries. That’s why we were super happy when London-based Belgian beauty Seyna Van Der Linden introduced us to Jacmel & Co, a brand founded by Lucie Cincinatis in 2014 while working in Haiti as a fellow for a local non-profit organization focused on education.
Lucie is born and raised in Belgium but she studied at Columbia University. During a short trip to the Southern city of Jacmel in Haiti, she was captivated by the local artisan craftwork and charm of the old colonial town, and saw an opportunity to help local talent bring their work to bigger markets. She created Jacmel & Co and is is now designing, producing and selling unique handmade calabash bags both locally and internationally. Her mission is to create jobs, empower local artisans and foster sustainable living. Kudos to Lucie, who’s only 24, for taking on such a venture. We think she’s an inspiration for her generation.
The bags are small works of art, vegetal haute couture and all made of calabash. The calabash is a member of the gourd family. It is a small evergreen tropical tree with simple leaves and a rough bark. Its fruits are green, with white flesh and smooth skin. The calabash was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, not grown primarily for food, but for use as a water container. The bottle gourd has been used by traditional cultures in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas for thousands of years. In Haiti, more specifically, the calabash is thought to be a “spiritual fruit” and is often used during voodoo sacred rituals, although we don’t think that überblogger Leandra Medine from The Man Repeller is performing any voodoo with her Jacmel & Co Kabik bag.
Jacmel & Co’s longterm vision is to promote the beauty of Haiti, its culture and most importantly its unrecognized and uniquely talented artist population, and that’s exactly what we try to do at ilovebelgium and we sincerely hope we help Lucie’s vision a little bit with our article. Be sure to also check out her Instagram to see beautiful Haiti imagery and fashionistas around the globe wearing her handcrafted limited edition bags.