Sophie Digard Crochet Scarves: France, Madagascar and Fair Trade

Recently blog commenter Janice Davey asked me if I knew anything about the crocheters from Madagascar that help complete the crochet work for Sophie Digard. To be honest, I’d never heard of Sophie Digard, but I immediately wondered if it was related to Fair Trade Crochet, a topic that interests me greatly. There isn’t a whole lot of information about this out there but I was able to turn up some evidence that this is likely the case with the Madagascar Workshop that Sophie runs.

Who is Sophie Digard?

Photo credit:

Selvedge, which sells some of Sophie’s products, has a great description about the designer:

“French designer Sophie Digard creates artworks that beg to be touched – curious crocheted flowers velvety with soft buds, each leaf and petal knitted individually. Alongside her super sweet roses are beautifully crafted jewellery, scarves and berets in intricately patterned stripes and swirls, reminiscent of a painting by Klimt. Her extensive colour palette – each hue is made up of sixty threads in merino, mohair, and velvet – gives rich, intense individual tones and makes each item unrepeatable.”

Sophie came out with her first collection in 1999 and since then has done work not only in accessories but also in baby items and interior design.

Sophie’s Crochet Scarves

What Sophie Digard is known for is her beautiful crochet scarves. Here are a few outstanding examples:

(The first two are sold on French Needle; the last is a detail of a crochet scarf sold on Selvedge)

I learned that one of the reasons that Sophie is popular among a niche group of crochet lovers is that her work is intricate and complicated to do. Now I kept reading that over and over but I didn’t think much of it. Most of the sites I read said something about how her work was time-consuming but I was writing that off as something people say because crochet must be done by hand. But then I realized that the description by Selvedge about says “each hue is made up of sixty threads” … so she’s working with sixty different threads to create the palettes that she’s choosing. Now that’s tough!

In my research I also found out a lot of care goes into both creating and packaging her work. Sophie uses natural materials including rustic linen and merino wool. She uses a natural vegetable dyeing process that can take weeks per item.

Other Sophie Digard Crochet

Although Sophie is known for her great crochet scarves, she also has some other great crochet designs:

You can see a roundup of Sophie Digard crochet purses at L’uccello

This is part of a raffia crochet collection called Corinne Sans-Arcidet headed up by Sophie Digard

This brooch is part of a Sophie Digard roundup over at This Sydney Life

Sophie Digard Pinterest Boards

I haven’t been able to find a website for Sophie Digard nor to locate her on any of the major social networks. However, several Pinterest crochet lovers have created boards specifically to share her work. Here are a few:

Sophie Digard, Madagascar and Fair Trade Crochet

So everywhere that you see Sophie’s name, you see her described as French or Parisian. But Janice had mentioned that she had crocheters working in Madagascar so I did some digging. I saw a few random references. For example, The French Needle Blog mentions “a bevy of women in Madagascar who crochet like fairies” in a post about Sophie. I got a little bit more information from Le Style Et La Matiere, which says about a line of interior design products Sophie had created that “the entire collection is handmade in Sophie’s workshop in Madagascar.” I didn’t think I was going to find out any more.

But then I came across this DNC article that shared a little bit more. It explains that Sophie has been living in Madagascar with her family for more than half a dozen years, leaving two of her sisters in France to run the operations there. It says, “it is from there she designs and manufactures her products, having set a unique production scheme involving hundreds of local women.” It notes that traditional techniques are used and combined with a French aesthetic to make the final products. So although it doesn’t say that specifically that she offers a fair wage to women artisans in Madagascar, it seems likely that this is a fair trade artisan crochet situation. Another article goes so far as to say, “This approach helps a thousand artisans in Madagascar live.” I don’t know if that’s the true extent of the operation or not but it gives more credence to the fair trade theory.

And then, I finally found an article that pretty much confirms it … The Schwab Foundation has an online PDF about their 2009 Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs. In it they mention Bosnian Handicrafts, an organization that helps women in Bosnia and Herzegovina earn a living by producing handmade goods for sale. Here’s how The Schwab Foundation describes it:

“Bosnian Handicrafts provides women who have experienced extreme trauma and hardship with an opportunity to support themselves financially while nurturing their own cultural traditions. The women learn to apply their knitting, crocheting and embroidery skills to create products that appeal to international and domestic markets.”

So you’re thinking, “well that’s great but what does it have to do with Sophie Digard?” Well it mentions just in passing that Sophie Digard is a client of the company, which clearly shows that she supports the idea of humanitarian craft work like this.

Fun Fact

You can see Sophie Digard’s crochet creations featured on the characters in the 2009 movie Bright Star.

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San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


  1. Woot! You did her designs and their work proud! Totally scooped me on the raffia!

    • @janicedavey Thanks! I put a ton of research into it. That one link is the only place that I saw anything about her and raffia. It’s completely different from her other work but I think it’s cute.

  2. I’ve known Sophie for over five years and she’s a charming and creative artist. Her heart is more in her designs and new products than in the business end of things. She has hundreds of designs and over 90 color palettes in both linen and wool. It’s almost like ordering from DeBeers, not quite sure what you’re getting, but it’s always spectacular… I change the Sophie inventory on my website frequently, so please keep checking!

    Lisa (aka The French Needle)

  3. I’ve worked with Sophie for over five years and she’s a charming and creative person. She’s too involved in the artistic side of things to get bogged down with business! She has over 200 designs, 95 palettes, wool and linen. When I receive an order from Sophie it’s like getting an order from DeBeers… Never quite sure what it will be, but always spectacular!
    I change my inventory frequently, check the site for new products!

    Lisa (aka the french needle)

  4. MarijkeBongers

    Hi, thank you for sharing my Pinterest board about Sophie Digard and for this article! I also found her work in Selfedge and hope to see and it in real life once. I will follow you from now on, great info about my favorite topic!

  5. MarijkeBongers

    Hi, thank you for sharing my Pinterest board about Sophie Digard and for this article! I also found her work in Selfedge and hope to see and it in real life once. I will follow you from now on, great info about my favorite topic!

  6. I wanted to ask/add, the multi-stranded color method of crochet used in most of the Sophie designs I have heard referred to as “melange” or described as being similar to “millifiori” in glasswork, a thousand colors, yet I haven’t been successful in finding any more about it as a “crochet technique” or it’s origins. See what a monster you have created!

    • @janicedavey I couldn’t find any additional information about how the technique is worked in any of my reading. Like you, I saw many references to “melange”. I know that melange yarn refers to some type of process where lots of short strands of fibers are dyed before they are spun together. And I know that it said somewhere that Sophie uses natural dyes. So maybe it has more to do with the process of creating the yarn that it is finally used in each piece than the technique itself. But that’s just a guess.

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  8. Oh love her work. Thanks. Will follow, thank you. I find crocheting therapeutic and follow my mother’s love for it.Her fine crocheting is like lace.

  9. Hi one of my favourite crochet designers adore her work and had a go at Sophie Style crochet made one or two presents for friends.
    I will probably never be able to afford a scarf of hers but you can dream!

  10. This is so wonderful to see – a designer from Sydney as my mother came from Oz, I still have so much family in NSW and my brother and his family live on the West Coast. Her work is marvelous and interesting, I will be looking at more of her work in the future. Again, thank you for sharing this with us in this news. So exciting to see.

    • @PWestin There are some terrific Australian crochet designers. Lisa Maree is known for her crochet swimsuits. Jenny King Designs was featured in the most recent Vogue Knitting Crochet. Crochetroo from Queensland sells her patterns on Etsy. Mary Card does lacework …

      • @CrochetBlogger Thank you, I have no idea. I truly appreciate your reply. I am so excited.

        • @PWestin I should do a full post on this. Australian crocheters don’t get enough attention! I think someone told me there’s not even an Australian crochet magazine.

          Oh, and I think the wonderful Sarah London is also in Sydney.

  11. Thank you very much for this most interesting, in-depth article!

  12. rabbitrescuesanctuary

    Really beautiful work, especially the bags. kim_cooney

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  16. Hi Kathryn,

    a good article about the lovely Sophie Digard and her work, though please be advised that you have misinterpreted information from my site. Sans-Arcidet products are completely unrelated to Sophie Digard products…they are just both made in Madagascar and I happen to sell them both wholesale into Australia and NZ (well did, now I only sell Sophie Digard). So your reference to my article “Sophie has been living in Madagascar with her family for more than half a dozen years, leaving two of her sisters in France to run the operations there. …” etc is actually an article about the brand Sans-Arcidet and not Sophie Digard.

    That said, Sophie has indeed started to create new collections of hats and bags in raffia, both crocheted and macrame pieces that are absolutely beautiful, but these are in no way related to Sans-Arcidet the brand or their work.

    I hope this is clearer for you now. Please correct your article accordingly.

    Kind regards,

  17. enibasjewellery

    Great post! We actually sell a good deal of Sophie’s designs in our shops in West Cork, Ireland and also online The work that goes into them is so amazing!

  18. “So although it doesn’t say specifically that she offers a fair wage
    to women artisans in Madagascar, it seems likely that this is a fair
    trade artisan crochet situation.”
    WHY is this fair treatment “likely”?No evidence is offered that the
    women are fairly compensated.Exploitation is much more common and
    therefore more likely and companies that do compensate workers more
    fairly usually broadcast the fact rather than maintain silence. But
    by all means, enjoy your $300 scarves.

  19. Dear Minerva1951, your comment is interesting. I found that throughout the many decades of my life there is hardly anything textile made at fair prices (i.e. accommodated to the countries’ average wage situation). Trace your clothing and you might be surprised. Your last sentence is troubling me though. You might be right with your accusations but it is not right to make offensive comments because there is no actual proof that Sophie Digard is exploiting the women in Madagascar, maybe she is one of the few who doesn’t but is not touting her fairness? Until one knows for sure, one should not point fingers, but of course, you certainly make a point which is definitely not missed. Another point in this context: often, when one is older, one feels utterly useless. Working something like crocheting or knitting items, being together with other women who do the same, making really beautiful things – I must say that I would be happy to have somebody giving me such pleasure of being useful and my expertise being appreciated, maybe working in groups and feeling less lonely, and even get money for the work, even if it happens to be just needle money – I’d be very happy indeed. Nothing worse than being alone and useless.

  20. @Laura Amen!

  21. Amen to that!

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