When you find your happy place, it all comes together. Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud shows us how

Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud’s atelier in the Ivorian coastal town of Grand-Bassam is a haven of tranquility. Its doors welcome you into a calming space filled with joyful objects, and then onto a courtyard dripping in fragrant blossoms and vines. Just-dyed fabrics flutter on branches and a plunge pool calls your name. Her “creative ashram” acts as a boutique, workshop, gallery and artist residence and it’s where her open-hearted brand, Laurenceairline, has found its spiritual home over the past year or so. “For me it was important to propose a space for awareness and cultural projects,” Chauvin-Buthaud explains. “It’s where you can have healthy food, find out about yoga or interact with artisans. It’s a space that celebrates life and creates a sense of caring. Whether for an art experience or a healing retreat, you come, you slow down, you breathe.”

Fast-becoming a pioneer for mindfulness in Côte d’Ivoire, Chauvin-Buthaud is, as always, leading the way. The current swell of interest in sustainable fashion from Africa owes much to the foundations she has laid. Born in Côte d’IvoiretoFranco-Cameroonian parents, she grew up predominantly in France and studied at Studio Berçot. After working at LVMH and making stage clothes for Keziah Jones, she launched her ethical menswear line between Paris and Abidjan in 2010, garnering press coverage and stockists around the world. 

By 2015 “the brand had got too big for me and I was exhausted,” she recalls, so she paused to study at L’Institut Français de la Mode and build a more robust business infrastructure. But she soon realisedthat what mattered most were her core values based around consciousness and the environment. So, she established a relationship with the Ethical Fashion Initiative and moved away from seasonal collections, instead offering couture and capsules that naturally flow the brand story forward. And with the move to Grand-Bassam, she can fully live her motto: ‘Do less but better’.


Laurenceairline’s current offering ‘L’amour est le fruit du soleil’ is a reflection of this zen-like place. “This is a special collection as it was the first one I did after the ashram was completed. One day we were all singing ‘Habanera’ from Carmen, the sun was shining and ideas for a womenswear collection started to come. It’s a new chapter for my brand, creating for men, women and no gender in natural, artisanal fabrics sourced almost entirely from West Africa. These are clothes that are simple and comfortable yet at the same time, elegant and chic.”

Core fabrications from across Côte d’Ivoire include raw cotton and raffia and handwoven pagne baoulé. She sources faso dan fani from the Cabes social enterprise in Burkina Faso and creates her own block printed and hand painted batiks locally. Her fluid silhouettes are then finished with intricate beadwork and embroidery. “In Japanese culture, every object has an energy. So, what I do when I receive a fabric, is sing and put energy into it,” she says. “Creativity has been a great process for healing myself so what makes me happy is when my customers tell me that they use my designs to heal themselves. It’s more than clothes, it’s a celebration.”

“We’re showcasing the beautiful artisanal practises that we find in West Africa – all sourced and made in an authentic way”

Crucially, each and every garment is loving produced at the ashram by her team of 11 Ivorians. “All the people I work with have been with me for 10 years or more. They love what they do and are proud to participate in changing the perception of African fashion. So, these are clothes made with engagement and with love,” she says. “We’re showcasing the beautiful artisanal practises that we find in West Africa – all sourced and made in an authentic way. That’s what sustainability means to me.”



Chauvin-Buthaud says Côte d’Ivoire was “sparkling” with cultural activities during the recent Africa Cup and as the country booms, more creative endeavours are bubbling up all the time. This makes it imperative for her to join the dots between here and her other home of Paris. She opened her first flagship store in the Haut-Marais district in 2023 and as a global nomad, she wants both locations to act as conduits between cultures. “Over the coming year I plan to create some experimental events that bring people together. This is a really nice moment so we must merge fashion with true experiences that inspire a good impact for the world.”


Laurenceairline website 
Laurenceairline Instagram 

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