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Upcycling in Algeria: Making quilts while improving product design

At SwitchMed we are developing demonstration activities to promote implementation of policies and actions on the ground, which effectively change patterns of consumption and production and implement circular economy measures in the priority sectors previously selected by the target countries. Nardjess Mokhtari and Anis Ouazene launched the¨Atelier Le Printemps¨ that makes unique decorative items for homes. The duo is very eager in greening their business even more, by mastering the art of natural dyes to reduce their chemical footprint, amongst other measures. This is where SwitchMed comes in.

Atelier le Printemps is a small artisanal and family business that creates quilts in downtown Bejaïa, a coastal town 180km east of Algiers. The young couple behind the enterprise, Anis Ouazene and his wife, Nardjess, took over this family business a few years ago. They were determined to turn their passion for sewing into a successful green business and so, they are getting there. They now upcycle used duvets and blankets to make decorative items for homes. ¨Customers show up to the workshop directly, choose the fabric and size of the quilt they would like to purchase; we sew it and a few days later, they can come and pick it up¨.

All the quilts and other clothing items are being commissioned, which makes each of them unique. They design customs that respond to the specific needs of their customers. In order to make the most of their workshops and to improve their waste management system, they also reuse fabric offcuts to make other products, such as storage bags, dolls, customised boxes, chair seats, etc…

Nowadays in Algeria, a great challenge is  to find high quality fabrics. There aren’t many patterns available on the Algerian market. As national textile industry is no longer what it used to be, the majority of fabrics now come from China. According to Anis, «several importers have a monopoly in the market and they are not particularly concerned either with the quality and aesthetics». This is why they would like to start producing their own fabrics using nontoxic natural dyes, which are available in abundance locally. Anis adds ¨we also want to make our own impressions with our own designs.  This is an added value to our business.

« We applied to the ¨SwitchMed Green Entrepreneurship Programme¨ in order to develop techniques for printing our fabrics with natural dyes. Natural colourings are available in abundance locally. These are extracts of indigo, beetroot, pomegranate or even spinach » Anis Ouazene

 

"Improving our product design through textile design and computer graphics and acquire techniques to print our fabrics with natural dyes is one of our priorities now, and one of the main reasons why we applied for support from the SwitchMed Programme."

To this end, two experts were appointed from SwitchMed to assist "Atelier Le Printemps" to strengthen the business model, based on circular economy principles. The main mission of these experts is to assist this textile workshop in their project to recover and reusefabric intercuts and other textile items from homes, factories and other sources. Moreover, Nardjess and Anis Ouazene will be coming shortly to Barcelona to receive further technical training.

Atelier Printemps was selected as a pilot project under the SwitchMed programme funded by the European Union, in agreement with the Algerian Ministry of Water Resources and Environment and the EU delegation in Algeria. It will support the national SCP priorities of Algeria.

Watch their Video here

 

 

For further information, you can visit: The “Green Entrepreneurs? of SwitchMed: an incubator for success stories.

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