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PANAFRICA: Sneakers With A Purpose

July 29, 2020

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Hélène Lucas

PANAFRICA, Communications Director

“PANAFRICA: Fashion-Forward Sneakers With A Purpose” with Hélène Lucas, Communications Director of PANAFRICA

Could you imagine launching a footwear business with absolutely having no background experience in fashion design, manufacturing, or textiles? Not only that but imagine that the vision you have for your “dream shoe brand” consists of working solely with African businesses and artisans.

Q & A with Hélène Lucas

1.  City of residence: Paris, France

2. Place of birth: Rennes (France), I grew up in west Africa (Burkina Faso and Cameroon) then came back to France.

3. What inspired you to join PANAFRICA‘s co-founding team?

I liked the energy and the optimism I could sense from the brand from the beginning. Not only seeing the shoes but mostly reading about Hugues and Vulfran’s mission on Facebook (where i discovered PANAFRICA, a few days after their launching). Their will to make a change and to do things right was very inspiring.

Not to mention, I’m a shoes addict and I really wanted to have a job that would have a close link to African continent. Also, I wanted to add more meaning to my career and see the impact of it, humanly speaking. PANAFRICA was the perfect project!

I then wrote to the guys to tell them my motivation to build PANAFRICA with them and we got along very well. Everything started so simply, like it was meant to be.

4. Out of all the products created, which is your favorite? Why?

SAHARA, I love the shape of this sneaker and I love it even more now that we’ve added handmade cotton canva from Burkina Faso on it. I’m obsessed with this fabric, knowing how it was produced and by who. When you look closer, you can see that it is not perfect, that it is handmade and that its story is strong.

5. What is the best part about the work you’re doing? Why?

As communication manager, the best part of my work is definitely getting to talk about what we achieve everyday, on social media or during podcast interviews! 😉

To us transparency is key to our project, so we explain everything to our customers and followers. We are proud of it, we naturally film and capture every step when we travel and meet our partners. I know that not everybody is as lucky as me to work in a company that matches their values. Also, I love explaining things about our brand.

6. If you could share just one piece of wisdom with the world, what would it be? 

Always take time to know people’s story. It is fascinating and sometimes explains a lot.

7. What book(s) are you currently reading? 

The revenant by Aminata Sow Fall, a classic of Senegalese literature, it is about family relationship and traditions.

8. Quote you (try to) live by? A classic but… Be the change you want to see in the world.

9. Using one word, how would you describe yourself ? Humanist.

10. What is one random fact that most people don’t know about you? 

My ankles are famous!  I pose for many PANAFRICA photoshoots!

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