SAHEL is a London-based ethical accessories brand founded by former fashion editor Charlie Davies.
SAHEL is committed to the preservation of traditional skills and revival of artisanal livelihoods. We adhere to Fair Trade principles and invest in our West African artisans’ communities, providing better access to health care, clean water and primary education.
Our luxury crafted leather products tell the story of a bygone era. A time when days were long and bare hooves echoed across desert sands. A time of robust and beautiful workmanship that could secure a horse and look good too.
SAHEL’s ethically made straps and tassles are mostly made using naturally tanned goat leather from Burkina Faso. The bags themselves are either made by a local Burkinabe leatherworker, or are produced in Devon, England using sustainably sourced cow leather and suede. These are bi-products of the food industry which are processed and effluents are disposed of in an environmentally friendly method.
SAHEL design is the result of Charlie Davies’s love of good design, horses and passion for empowering the poor. She works with traditional crafts people in Burkina Faso to relieve poverty in ways that are sustainable and respectful of culture and make quality products that are beautiful and unique.
Charlie graduated in Fashion Design from Nottingham Trent University (1994). She worked in Fashion PR and then as Assistant Fashion Editor for The Observer. She went on to be Fashion Editor for The Sunday Telegraph Magazine (byline Charlotte Apatu, 1998-2004).
In 2004 she swapped her Manolos for flip-flops and moved to Phnom Penh, where she founded Precious Girl Magazine, a self-affirming publication for the garment workers of Cambodia, which gathered the support of NGOs such as USAID and the ILO.
After marrying children’s author Stephen Davies in 2007 she moved to West Africa where she lived among the Fulani, kept a horse and developed a love of indigenous craft. After 7 years, she has now returned to London with her family to develop the export market for SAHEL Design, keeping in regular contact with her friends and co-workers back in the SAHEL region of Burkina Faso.
Passionate about creating a fairer, greener fashion industry, Charlie is Country Co-ordinator for Fashion Revolution Day Burkina Faso. She is also a freelance fashion stylist with ‘conscious creatives’ agency Novel Beings.