Hardware – clunky fastenings, chains, studs, that kind of thing – is something I’ve tried to avoid using on SAHEL bags. Mainly because the only ready made ones available here in Burkina Faso are cheap imported ones that would spoil the look and the ethos of the label.
If I have to use a zip, I import the best quality which is expensive and takes time. So when a client asked me for an adjustable strap I was a bit stumped as to what to do. The type of slider I needed wasn’t available here so I decided to see if the technique used for casting bronze stirrups would work for making my own.
It turned out really well, the result being much lighter than expected. It opens up a new range of possibilities for SAHEL Design, not just for our using them on our own bags, but we can take commissions for custom made buckle frames and sliders too.
If you’d like to see how these buckles were made, watch our short video. Sorry about the photo-insert for the actual pouring in of the hot bronze process, which is lifted from my previous photo coverage of bronze stirrups being made. I had two small children in tow who couldn’t wait another two hours until the scrap metal melted!
The background music is ‘Africa’ by Siake Diarra, a regular musician at the Jardin De L’amitiè where the bronzier Amidou Traoré is based.