I met the founders of Bhallot, Guillaume & Jean Baptiste during a Slow Fashion event in Paris. Two inspiring social entrepreneurs that I really wanted to introduce to you !

After working two years in Bangladesh for a French NGO, completely immersed in the Bengali culture, the two friends became aware of the ecological and social issues of our society, especially the textile industry.

We were working into the jute industry so we came with the idea to find openings in this sector and that’s how we decided to involve in the long term the small producers and all the people playing a role into the supply chain of the jute sector.”

To reinvent the fashion of tomorrow by enhancing sustainable natural fibres and local players… That’s how Bhallot born. The two founders wanted to fight again the use of plastic by using the jute fibre, coming from the region of the Bay of Bengal, once used to make our patatoes bags. Also called the Gold of Bengal, the jute is a premium quality fibre, really resistant and soft with a great ecological and social potential.

The picture below explains that 4 millions of people depend on its cultivation. Also, the jute culture can preserve water (1kg of jute needs 160 litres of water vs 1kg of cotton needs 20 000 litres of water). Finally, it doesn’t need to use lots of pesticides to grow. 

A direct sales model ! 
The brand chose to avoid all kinds of intermediaries to offer a competitive and fair price to its customers. Bhallot don’t hesitate to display with full transparency its margins in its website, as you can see in the picture below.
Transparency & Traceability ! 
Bhallot works with artisans from fairtrade cooperatives, certified World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). It keeps employment in the rural environment of the country and fights against its poverty. Indeed, Bangladesh faces a rural exodus to the cities, creating slums. “The label ensures among other things, the wage rise of 10 to 20%, a workday of maximum 7 hours, to be paid ovetime and employees can elect their managers…”
As we know well the country and we do speak Bengali, we can work close with them to develop our products.”

No need to say that I fell in love with this brand as I totally share its values. After travelling 1 year in Latin America, I also worked directly with artisans to know more about their ancestral know-how and work conditions. To work with artisans can help perpetuing their know-how and traditional techniques by making a premium quality product. And Bhallot can be really proud of its bags’ quality !

This brand also calls to mind as jute is not well developed despite its ecological qualities.  And I must admit I thought jute products where not really stylish… Well, I was totally wrong ! Bhallot makes products for different tastes and uses, for both men & women. I obviously fell in love with this style made of 100% jute, enhancing the ancestral know-how of the artisans with the traditional and colorful patterns of the country. This bag is at the same time light and stylish to wander in town, comfy and handy to go on trekking in the mountains !

Plastic is not chic !
We always have concerns and obligations during the development stages, regarding the environmental and social responsibility of the company.”
Some parts of the bags can also be made of leather. That’s why, the brand wonders about the use of leather, which is traditionally used in the country since a long time but also subjected to controversy.
“The leather that we use is made from vegetable tanning, so without heavy metals. Also, the tannery we work with has a water treatment process before throwing it in the rivers. But, for some people, these ecological efforts are not enough as the cattle produces lots of greenhouse gas emissions. For others, it is not ethical as if we want to respect the planet, we have to respect the animals. We decided to take up the challenge but we rather believe in alternative materials than leather imitation. No way for us to use plastic !”
Bhallot, Made in Europe ! 
“We try to do the same thing we did with jute & Bangladesh but with linen, a European fibre !
We work on the finishing of the fabric with a 100% natural treatment to make the fibre rigid and waterproof.” It’s a revolutionary innovation into sustainability and technology ! Moreover, linen has the advantage to be made locally with a really low environmental impact.
“We believe in this project, it’s a real hope to revolutionize the fashion world and the bag industry !”
What do you think of the future of sustainable fashion? 
“It’s in progress but I think there is a misreading of the textile industry. For example, the « Made in France »  label is often seen as THE solution but we do forget that the textile supply chain is complex and that before the clothing manufacturing, there are lots of other stages that need to be taken into consideration if we truly want eco-made products from A to Z.  We became more aware of these issues thanks to the food industry and coming now into the textile industry but I feel we still miss like an « ethical fashion federation ». It’s good to say out loud what we think but we need to create a community to get ourselves heard. If we look at the figures of the textile industry in France, we can see that we buy more from large retailers with affordable prices. So the « buy less but better »  slowfashion slogan is not ready to win the war against the fast fashion... »

Every purchase of a Bhallot bag supports programs to encourage women entrepreneurship, to train about environment protection or to fight against rural poverty.

Here is the selection of my favorite bags of the brand !

Find all these bags on the brand’s Website ! Enjoy your ethical shopping  =)

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