Our aim is to develop potential in everything and everyone. Each garment is made out of up-cycled cotton. Therefore, they are all one-of a kind unique art-pieces. We use natural dyes made from Burkina Faso grown plants and trees. 'A thousand blues' is a sustainable and conscious clothing label founded in 2017, in Burkina Faso. Inspired by the tale of the tailor Louka and a girl named 'Mounique' who did not know how to read or write properly at age 12. The most beautiful part of our clothing label is that with every piece you buy, you pay for one year of education for a child in Burkina Faso. This makes you part of something truly magnificent and radiant. Go to our shop or read more about our philosophy below.
when I ( Charlotte, founder of a thousand blues) came to Burkina Faso I was inspired by all the creative ways that people find to repair, transport and make things. In everything, there was a maximisation of the use of potential. Nothing would go to waste if it could be fixed in any sort of way. While being there for a long time I got to know the tailor, Louka very well. He made me all kind of dresses and we had lots of interesting conversations about everything you can think of. I wondered what made him become a tailor and not a doctor, or a professor for example. So one day I asked. He told me that he would have want to go to university but his parents did not have enough money to even let him finish high school. That's when he started working as an apprentice at a tailor. When I heard his story I thought of all the potential that got lost. With all of his intelligence and curiosity, who knows what else he could have become. For now he enjoys what he is doing but he would like to see things differently for his children. It is for this 'loss of potential' - latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness - and the current state of the world, that I started 'a thousand blues'. I wanted to create a product that would make people happy at all ends, the tailor because he earns well, the wearer because of the beautiful and unique clothing, she is reminded of her own potential that she might not be developing, and a child because his or her education is secured financially. Of course this product had to have the littlest environmental impact. That is one of the reasons that we use up-cycled cotton and natural dyes. Lamine, the 'teinturier' has his own field where he sows and reaps his plants used for the natural dying process. Because every piece is handmade and artisanal coloured with natural dyes, chances are very small that we get the same color twice. There is an enormous range of hues of blues all depending on several factors like time, the intensity of the dye and the sun - there are thousands of blues, thousands of people, and thousands of dreams to come true.
‘A thousand blues’ uses textiles that have been sent away from the Western world, because they seemed to be not useful anymore to their previous owners. This incoming stream of (dump) products did a lot of damage to the economical development of the textile industry in many African countries when this started in the twentieth century. However we would have love to seen this differently in the past, we now do not choose to work with newly grown Burkina Faso cotton. Producing a new t-shirt from scratch still costs 2700 liters of water. The state of the worlds asks us to be creative and use all of the potential that is hidden in yet existing materials. The resources are in our perceptions, not in the producing and mining of new raw materials.*
Did a tablecloth ever thought it could become a robe? Because it was labeled a 'tablecloth' once, doesn't mean it hasn’t got the capacity to develop into something different, something even more useful and beautiful.
Whole new worlds open up; when we allow ourselves to change the way we see things. By changing our perspectives we create freedom of mind and matter. This gives us a huge range of possibilities. It’s therefore that we up-cycle cotton. What if we would use what already exists?
This change of perspective, does not only count for products and materials. It also applies to the potential that lies within each of us, the possibility of becoming the best versions of ourselves. To change our perspectives about our situations, make bold decisions and follow our hearts. When you read this, you have probably had all the possibilities to follow an education. Reading, writing and maths have been part of your up bringing. It is most likely that you have everything in reach to become the best version of yourself, if you just let yourself be, overcome your fears and doubts and start do-ing. Not everybody in this world has easy access to education. In economically under-developed countries the illiteracy is high. Children start working at an early age, making it harder to educate their selves and to develop to their full potential.
'A thousand blues' thinks broader and reaches further and encourages you to do the same. Not only by wearing one of our garments and therefore pay for the education of a child in Burkina Faso (one garment - one year) but by changing your perspective, on clothing, the world, it's people and your own life. A life, full of possibilities for you and for everyone.
If we work together to educate all of our children into wise, earth-loving, heart-following human beings, we might be able reach a place where there is enough food, education, healthcare and peace for everybody on this planet without depleting her resources and her people. Therefore it’s important to be aware of the parallel world we don’t see but is there and we’re constantly part of. We are connected with everything and everyone in this universe by the bricks of our homes, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive and the food that is on our plates. The sun and the moon, the earth and it’s people have conspired all their energy and efforts to produce and bring to you, the products that are surrounding you, this very moment. Isn’t that awe inspiring? It’s therefore that raising a child, does not take a village, it takes the entire world nowadays. Where other parts of the world are able to provide for us, but not too much (anymore) for their selves, it’s where we come in. What can we do, to do our part? To restore the balance? We can start by buying ethically, sustainable produced goods and foods. Products that are not only making us happy but also the people who made them. Products made with hands, which received enough money to feed their families, send their children through university and to live a good life. We would love you to think about how you want to be connected with the earth and her people? Where do you want to put your money, time and energy? What is the potential in you that you are not using?