Raffia is a very strong textile fiber used in Madagascar to make string and rabanne. It is also the raw material from which all products in our “raffia hand-knitted” range are made.
It was named after the tree it originates from: a very large palm tree found in Madagascar as well as throughout East Africa.
Everything is good in the raffia, you can make salads with its core, oil with its seeds, and part of the traditional roofs of the east coast of Madagascar are made with its stems. Once the large palms are cut (not easily because of the fine thorns along the stems), we extract each leaf from its stem, we remove the core, then, with a knife we separate the thin transparent film of the leaf and put it to dry: that’s what raffia is.
The fibers are then sorted, the unequal strands (color, length …) spread out, which allows to obtain a quality “raffia hand-knitted bags” and Rabanne.
The raffia is hued in large pots with natural pigments such as crushed coal, kazu, carry, fumakilla ashes, and many more.
It is a delicate art that requires considerable know-how, but that does not always guarantee a shade exactly conform to the expected Pantone color.
The raffia products are therefore entirely ecological, because the extraction of the fiber makes it possible to maintain and regenerate the Raphia forests. However, it is necessary to support the exploitation to ensure its sustainability over the long term.
Finally, the work of the material provides an income to the local populations, while preserving a traditional know-how specific to the culture of the island.