Ivory Coast fashion designer Liliane Estievenart created her first bag at the request of a clothing manufacturer, and has since gone on to design a wide range of purses, leather-trimmed valises and other accessories.

Ivory Coast fashion designer Liliane Estievenart's bags inside her workshop in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, July 22, 2017.
Ivory Coast fashion designer Liliane Estievenart's bags inside her workshop in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, July 22, 2017.

An entrepreneur from Ivory Coast is hoping to score an international fashion hit by recycling the cloth sacks that the country uses to ship cocoa beans around the world.

Liliane Estievenart, 45, hit on the idea of turning the sacks into attractive bags with the stencilled slogan "Produce of Cote d'Ivoire - Cocoa" – a reminder that the West African country is the world's top producer of the commodity.

Fashion designer Liliane Estievenart, 45, works on cocoa's sacks in her workshop in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, July 22, 2017 (Reuters)
Fashion designer Liliane Estievenart, 45, works on cocoa's sacks in her workshop in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, July 22, 2017 (Reuters)

Estievenart created her first bag at the request of a clothing manufacturer, and has since gone on to design a range of purses, leather-trimmed valises and other accessories using jute, the material used in the cocoa bags.

In the nine months since she left her old job as a sales associate, she says she has sold at least 600 of the bags in Gabon, Mauritius, Togo and Ghana.

She also has plans to expand.

A man works on a sewing machine in the workshop of Ivory Coast fashion designer Liliane Estievenart, 45, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, July 22, 2017 (Reuters)
A man works on a sewing machine in the workshop of Ivory Coast fashion designer Liliane Estievenart, 45, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, July 22, 2017 (Reuters)

"There is a high demand by Ivorians, our brothers in the diaspora", she said.

"I hope one day we distribute everywhere throughout the world."

Source: Reuters