8 February 2021
Raquel allegra is like a four-leaf clover. Rather rare among her peers, she tends to bring good luck! In any case, whatever she does turns into something joyful or positive for others. This californian girl who founded her brand thanks to her passion for vintage and retro rock looks has decided to draw inspiration from beyond the american borders for her latest collection (available on la grande boutique). It was thanks to a friend and through an association in sierra leone in africa that she worked on a new technique and developed her new print. Explanations.
It was through one of her close friends, Tiffany Persons, and through the association he founded, Shine On Sierra Leone, that Raquel Allegra put her bags in Sierra Leone while it was time to develop her winter collection. The idea? Rely on the profiles put forward by the association which defends local talents and local creative communities to approach a new way to her work as a designer. As a result, it was with the local artisans of the village of Bongema that Raquel Allegra extended her creative field by developing her latest tie and dye.
Decimated by a civil war that lasted more than ten years and ended in 2002, Sierra Leone still suffers from diamond and gold mining. As a result of these various problems, many infrastructures have disappeared and many local artisans have been forced to leave the country.
Craftsmanship and commitment to populations in need are very dear to Raquel Allegra who tells us on the occasion of the release of this new collection: “We all have so many opportunities and choices when it comes to life. It is about supporting places where we can put our energy. You have to know where to place yours. I think it’s more personal, more meaningful ”.
The Shine On Sierra Leone Association and her friend Tiffany introduced a local craftsman to Raquel Allegra, who taught her his craft techniques. As Raquel Allegra herself puts it, “the teacher turned into a student.”
She adds, “Being a Creative Director means that your team comes to you for answers, clarity, and support, but this journey has allowed me to be the student rather than the teacher. A refreshing experience and dynamic that puts humility back in the right place. “
Establishing since its inception a very personal approach with her collections, Raquel Allegra here pushes the cursor a little further by mixing traditions and commitments.
“For fashion to be a real path to growth, it is important for me to tell personal stories that may or may not be obvious to the consumer. I think that it has always been the history of fashion: the more personal it is, the more meaning it has. Also, the more we understand that our audience wants to connect on a deeper level, the more we know that sharing this part of our story is important. »she says to La Grande Boutique.
As a natural extension of her stylistic approach, Raquel Allegra and local artisans have thus worked on the technique of indigo dyeing, also called “Gara”. While Gara’s term may refer to the dyed fabric of West Africa in general, originally it specifically referred to a material dyed with the plant that bears its name, the gara. The Gara dye as a tradition quickly established itself in the creative mind of the American, giving birth to her new “Gara print” and her latest collection called “Let love reign”. She herself confides that “the word Gara could even be synonymous with tie-dye, which is specific to this region and its traditions”. For a designer who has made tie-dyeing an integral part of her process since day one, the circle seems to come full circle.