At Playtime New York on August 4th I had the pleasure of interviewing Annabel Fournier. Anabel founded Fournier in the summer of 2004 as a poverty alleviation project while living in Bolivia.
During the eight years Annabel was in Bolivia she laid the grounds for Fournier and trained local artisans in knitting, crocheting, and embroidery.
Today Bolivian artisans continue to handcraft Fournier’s designs to manufacture a fashion-forward, eco-friendly collection of clothing and accessories.
Read Interview with Annabel Fournier
“Fournier products are all handmade by a group of women in a city called Cochabamba in Bolivia. I lived there for almost 10 years. I started Fournier as a poverty alleviation project. I used to work with only 4 ladies and then it grew and now we employ a big group between 80 and 100 women for each collection.
Meet Elena – Knitting for Fournier for over 8 years.
The samples I make all myself and the products are made there in Cochabamba. Once the sample is made and I like it, I approve it and everything. I send the samples and they make the product with the samples and my specs in Cochabamba.
The collection is all hand knit and all natural materials are used. Baby alpaca wool is 100% natural and Pima cotton is from Peru. We buy the material in Peru and we take it to Bolivia and we knit there. The alpaca is local in Bolivia.
Baby alpaca is hypoallergenic. It is actually warmer than cashmere. It doesn’t peel and it is environmentally friendly. These yarns are mostly natural colors but the ones that are dyed are azo-free dyes so it’s not bad for the environment and it’s not toxic.
This collection here was inspired by sea glass. I used all sea glass colors and the texture, you know sea glass has lots of textures. In some of the knitting, I replicated the texture of the sea glass so I reversed the knitting.
For that collection there in the softer colors, I was inspired by the colors of the macaroon cookies. So I used pink, powder blue and ecru to replicate.
And then for the soft toys. I have two different lines. The first is the baby toys: bunnies, teddy bears, and little monkeys, with the ruffles this time. I think they add so much to the toy. They are very well stitched so they won’t come off.
Since the royal baby was going to be born this year I was inspired by that. I made the king and queen, and then the king’s pages, and then two princes. Then the houses, I have a summer house, a hard house, and the regular house with the windows, all with my signature stripes. I also now have the large soft toys.
For the Royals, I wanted to use bright colors so they will stand out. I used striped pants, like the real king. For this, I took some old books, fairy tales that included some kings and queens.”