Accenture Song, based in Hamburg, is recently collaborating with the eco-sneaker company ekn to produce the first vegan sneaker ever to be designed in Bangladesh and made in Portugal. The distinctive style of ekn Kathal Kamthala is the result of a creative partnership between the Frankfurt-based shoe company and budding Bangladeshi designer Rokaiya Ahmed Purna.
The kathal Kamthala, which is a bold message to the industry to reconsider how it works with the Global South and flips the conventional “designed in the Global North, made in the Global South” paradigm, is named after Bangladesh’s national fruit, the jackfruit.
The goal of the project was to develop a sneaker as a representation of respect, in an effort to counter some of the unethical supply chain processes, pollution, and exploitation that have been associated with the industry for decades. This concept feeds into the desire of younger generations for real change, not just greenwashing.
Accenture Song, previously Kolle Rebbe and based in Hamburg, is the creative firm responsible for the slogan “Designed in Bangladesh. Made in Europe.” Together with ekn, group creative director Alexander Grapp and his team developed the project from beginning to end, working on everything from the design language and packaging to the launch campaign video and product photography. They also acquainted Rokaiya Ahmed Purna to the footwear brand.
Designer Purna is dedicated to empowering women and supporting gender equality, responsible consumption and production, indigenous textiles, and innovation. Bangladesh is the source of inspiration for the ekn Kamthala. A ripe jackfruit served as the inspiration for the wedge sole and the bright accents. The front of the shoe takes on the prickly appearance of the fruit, but the rest is retained in structural grey, just like the bark of the jackfruit tree. Besides, the vegan materials used in the Portuguese-made shoes ensure their durability and supreme comfort.