Sometimes you open a door on what appears to be one thing on the surface, and find underneath something quite rare and special.
Rare and special, indeed. Welcome to Scarlett Boutique in rue Arson near the Port of Nice. Yes, it is an unexpectedly chic boutique which is run by Laetitia and Carlos – both of whom are very engaging, happy and warm.
Your attention will inevitably be drawn to the very elegant handbags, beautifully crafted, colourful and tasteful. The creations of Karl Backwell. Who is Karl Backwell? Good question. It is in fact Carlos himself. It gets better. They are crafted entirely on site by Carlos himself. He uses high quality materials from people like Schumacher – yup, same family. You will look again at the bags, the craftsmanship, the style and think – wow! Impressive is a good word.
So you have boutique, hand-made bags … what else? A lot else, read on … Carlos believes in ethical production, no child labour. Carlos was a child labourer, now he is in a position to choose products he ensures that no child labour has been involved.
He is more than just committed to this, he has been instrumental with UNICEF in creating an association that certifies products are compliant to a code and produced ethically. So it is all working together – the creative process, commerce and humanitarianism – as Carlos says is Pro-Ethic = Poetic.
Surely that is it? No. He has also created and had patented an insert for high ankle sneakers, although it has myriad other applications, wherein you can safely stash a credit card, cash or a key keeping it as secure as possible. What a great idea! It doesn’t impact the wearability of the sneaker at all. He is adopting this approach also on his handbags to avoid the all too prevalent risk of being pick-pocketed.
Back to child labour for a second – next time you buy some trainers and find they are laced up then chances are that the producer is using child labour as it is uneconomic for an adult to do it. Worth thinking about next time you are buying, you can make an easy ethical decision. Not many people know that – I did not.
Did I mention that Laetitia Backwell, Carlos’s wife was a top selling singer only a short while ago? No …. well, now you know.
Pass by the shop, open the door – you will be glad you did!
25, rue Arson
All photographs © Mike Colquhoun