Mindfully crafted textiles to support artisans and their families.
About this project
Over the past year, while collaborating with the weaving collective of Waraniéné. Côte d’Ivoire, we continuously asked ourselves how we could promote these beautiful textiles in an ethical way while not abandoning the artistic freedom and cultural traditions of the artisans.
..the result is Five | Six.
Five | Six is a textile company that honors the heritage of traditional woven cloth from Côte d’Ivoire. We produce home goods and bags that are inspired for your contemporary style. We started this company to preserve an ancient artistic practice, to make goods in a mindful way that supports the artisans and their communities, and to create a gorgeous product unlike anything available on the market today. Through this partnership we are creating an artisan-to-consumer business model that helps you feel good about what you are purchasing.
Five | Six products begin as narrow strips of hand-spun and hand-woven 100% cotton cloth. These narrow strips are woven on an upright frame loom and hand-stitched together using traditional methods developed by the weavers of Waraniéné. Our silhouettes are the result of extensive research and prototyping in conjunction with Waraniéné. We are so excited to launch our first collection of beautiful woven goods designed that fit your everyday life.
Now, we are asking for your support as we progress into our first line of products, available exclusively through Kickstarter.
By backing our project you can help fund our first line of gorgeous textiles, bringing them directly from the collective to your home. You will also help kickstart production on our second collection which will be available fall/winter 2016.
By funding Five | Six, you are purchasing a unique product while contributing to the positive social impact and development of a sustainable business model that will promote hand-made textiles and support local artisans.
What makes Five | Six different…
The village of Waraniéné, in northern Côte d’Ivoire, weave beautiful one of a kind hand-woven cloth. All the residents of Waraniéné work as full-time weavers. The women spin, dye, and stitch the cloth while the men weave. Their children learn the process through years of apprenticeships. They have adapted their patterns into clothing, table cloths, and other everyday objects that still retain their ancient artistic roots and techniques.
Historically, Waraniéné would trade their cloth with neighboring farming communities. This allowed them to spend the majority of their time focusing on their craft rather than splitting time between other day-to-day demands. The village incorporated in the 1970’s and began weaving predominantly for commercial purposes, selling directly to tourists and local consumers.
In 2002, Côte d’Ivoire erupted in a civil war that would last for over 10 years. Formerly regarded as one of the most peaceful countries on the African Continent, all tourism quickly receded as well as much of the income these artist collectives relied upon. Today, the entire country continues to rebuild the economy, and business is burgeoning. However, smaller communities like Waraninéné, which rely on people purchasing their art, are still struggling. As economic strains intensify, less importance is placed on producing and purchasing cloth, art, and other luxuries. As a result, these practices stop evolving and in some cases cease all together. Weaving techniques are passed down from parent to child. Once this process stops, then the art form is lost.
The idea for Five | Six evolved out of a conversation between us, Laine and Emma, and the head of the Waraniéné Collective. Their main concerns were developing new designs that were desirable on the commercial market and creating that vital link between themselves, the artisans, and you, the consumer. Five | Six helps facilitate that link while letting the weavers continue to evolve artistically.
With the rise of fast-fashion, many products that emulate traditional woven patterns are being made cheaply, poorly, and with little regard for the communities creating them. This shows a lack of respect for the traditions of the people who created these unique patterns and ignores their working conditions. As a consumer, it backs you into a corner where you can’t put your beliefs into practice about where and what you choose to purchase.
Our buying habits are changing. We are starting to pay attention to where and how things are produced, buying less and at a higher quality. We are looking for designs that are timeless and long lasting, rather than trends that are ephemeral. We want goods with a story, to feel like we own a truly unique piece, but in many cases it is hard to find the right style to fit your aesthetic.Five | Six understands the challenge of buying hand-crafted, ethically-made products while not compromising your style. Our textiles are art with function and will brighten your space while the minimalist design seamlessly fits with your aesthetic. Five | Six is taking Ivorian cloth and bringing it into your home, transporting designs and patterns that have evolved over years into the fabric of our day-to-day lives.
Five | Six is building a business model that creates a dialogue with the local artisans and encourages you to create connections. Over the last year we have extensively researched a plethora of sustainable business models and discovered that none of them were sufficient for our vision of Five| Six. We want to work with and empower communities to achieve the goals they see for themselves. We have to change the notion of “we know best” and instead collaborate with communities to create a sustainable business independently from us. We have to start taking the time to speak to artisans and their families to better understand what they want out of these partnerships.
Beyond consistent employment and fair wages, the artisans of Waraniéné asked for educational programs for their children and adult literacy courses for themselves. Our response? Five | Six will invest a percentage of our yearly profits into creating such initiatives. Better access to education can transform lives and means that less time is spent worrying about the future of their children. Five | Six is not just about form and function. It is also about fostering relationships with the artisans and their communities. By focusing on where the art originated we can help preserve these traditions so they can endure, continue to evolve, and become a reliable source of income to anyone who wants to make this their livelihood. By supporting us, you are taking one step further into making sure this is a possibility.
Textiles are one of the most basic, functional, and beautiful art forms humans have developed. It is truly amazing how they still continue to play a vital role in our lives, even today. Five | Six celebrates this. Help us embrace these extraordinary textiles.
As a thank you for your support, we are offering our kickstarter backers an exclusive chance to buy Five | Six’s first collection at a 15-20% discount! See details below.
$10 or more – Our sincerest thanks and you will be added to our mailing list! Estimated delivery – August/September 2016
$15 or more – Five | Six will send you a hand written custom postcard from Waraniéné. Estimated delivery: July/August 2016 Ships anywhere in the world
$25 or more – A hand painted beaded keychain, made by the artisans of Waraniéné. Estimated delivery – August/September 2016 Ships anywhere in the world
$50 or more – Hand-woven wall hanging. Hand spun and stitched cotton with original design. Estimated delivery – August/September 2016 Ships anywhere in the world
$85 or more – Five | Six Pillow. One of our first collection of hand-woven pillows with 100% down insert. You pick from the two patterns below and stitched accent color (brown – as below- or blue). Estimated delivery – August/September 2016 Ships anywhere in the world
*Stretch goal option – More pattern and color options!
$120 or more – Five | Six Everyday Tote. One of our first collection of tote bags. Hand spun and woven with vintage leather handle. Choose one – Ikat or Navy. Estimated delivery – August/September 2016 Ships anywhere in the world
$150 or more – Two of our Five | Six Pillows from our first collection of hand-woven pillows with 100% down insert. You pick from the two patterns below and stitched accent color (brown – as below- or blue). Estimated delivery – August/September 2016 Ships anywhere in the world
*Stretch goal option – More pattern and color options!
$250 or more – Five | Six Bedspread. One of our first collection of Bedspreads. Hand spun and woven bedspread. You pick the stitched accent color (blue – as below- or brown). Estimated delivery – August/September 2016 Ships anywhere in the world
*Stretch goal option – More color options!
$500 or more – Wall Hanging. Exclusive to this kickstarter! An original large wall hanging of hand woven and hand painted cloth. Estimated delivery – August/September 2016 Ships anywhere in the world
$1,000 or more – The entire Five | Six Collection! 1 City Tote 2 Pillows 1 Bedspread 1 Original Wall Hanging Estimated delivery – August/September 2016 Ships anywhere in the world
Lots of love and infinite thanks to those who dedicated their time, energy, and brains to Five | Six. With out you, this would not have been possible.
Clement Coulibaly, The Weavers of Waraniéné, Patrick Evans, Mark Rubin, Heather Pieske, Liz Adams Jones, Anna Wingfield, Jay Zimmerman, Jonathan Armstrong, Garret Lacava, Lauren Bell, Teri Perona, Jeff Kieslich, Bas’ik
Marilyn Ramenofsky, John Wingfield, Barbara Henry, David Henry and all our other Family and Friends for your support.
Risks and challenges
Production of Five | Six textiles is done completely by hand and involves the entire collective of Waraniéné. The cotton thread is hand spun and dyed before being put on the loom for weaving. Once the narrow strips of cloth are complete they are hand stitched. This takes time and we will be overseeing every part of our production schedule to ensure quality control. We have been amazed at how the artisans have created such beautiful designs inline with our complicated prototyping schedules. We are confident that our planning, testing, and development over the last year will ensure that our manufacturing deadlines will be met on schedule.
Waraniéné is located in a remote part of Northern Côte d’Ivoire. It takes time for shipments to travel overground to Abidjan (the capital city) and then ship to the United States. However, setbacks can happen and while we have tried to allow extra time in the event of any issues, you never know. However, we promise that in the event that any of these setbacks happen, we will keep you up-to-date with shipments.