by Natasha Tauber
Interested in unifying a culture of craftsmanship with positive intentions and outcomes, recently launched Fait La Force offers homewares and accessories made in Haiti by hand. The labor intensive, collaborative process is echoed in the brand's name, which is taken from "L'Union Fait La Force," a phrase associated with the Haitian flag that translates to "Strength in Unity." Included in the debut collection is a crafty checkers set in which horn squares off against bone on an indigo-dyed board hand-stitched from textile industry remnants. More than a game, it's a victory of conscious design, the beauty and function achievable amidst even scarce resources.
Fait La Force has recruited a diverse group of artisans for the project, from carvers and tanners to weavers and textile workers, all working towards product collaborations that play well in markets beyond the island nation. According to New York-based designer and co-founder Emma Allen, the brand aims to "provide jobs and great products that stand on their own in the marketplace." Accompanying Allen as co-founder is Chandler Hamilton who, after years of aid work, relocated to Haiti in 2012 with her husband to establish a workshop bridging diverse craft traditions. Together the two have established a genuinely helpful project in what is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere—and one with few indigenous resources at that.
The checkers are fashioned in the atelier of Master Artisan, Boss Andre Paul, who has sculpted horn and bone for 30 years—a trade learned from his great uncle. Each unique aspect of the set comes from a considered location; the board is stitched together of hand-dyed canvas in Fait La Force's own workshop, and finished with a hand-stamped label made of vegetable dyed leather sourced from a local tannery. And the set travels in a pouch assembled from the otherwise wasted remnants of jean production in neighboring Dominican Republic.
Fait La Force's portable checkers set is available online for $98.
Images courtesy of Fait La Force