HANDBAGS MADE WITH A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE
The issue of replica handbags and other goods is a significant problem for designers and the industry as a whole. Whilst it is doubtful that this practice will cease, it is encouraging when authentic luxury products are discovered that are ethically produced in a conscious social manner.
A number of such companies exist within the Caribbean, and two highly distinguished hand-produced bag companies MayaBags® from Belize, and REECII from the twin islands St. Kitts and Nevis, should be justly highlighted as examples to all.
Founded in 1999 by Judy Bergsma, Jovita Sho, Desiree Arnold, and five additional indigenous Maya artisans from different villages in the Maya Mountains of Belize, they have been producing a range of contemporary designed bags using ancient skills and teaching financial literacy whilst celebrating creativity.
Just 2,500 kilometers to the west of Belize on the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, REECII is creating beautifully designed handbags crafted from naturally found materials.
All products are meticulously hand-crafted by skilled artisans and are made from everyday materials such as plants, paper, or anything that can be recycled. At REECII they not only get their hands dirty making products, but also by wrestling the tough social issues, such as gang violence, HIV prevention, gender inequality, bullying, and substance abuse.
These two organisations are not alone in the Caribbean, which is becoming a sought after location to find ethically produced environmentally friendly high quality unique products. For those of you who would like to see how great these bags are RECCII and MayaBags® will be at the Design Caribbean Pop-Up Shop in Camden. Other designers at the shop include jewellery from HAITI DESIGN and Crystal Forms; and home accessories and art by BHAUGHaus Design Studio and Khadabra.
Design Caribbean is a programme of the Caribbean Export Development Agency, and funded by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Private Sector Development Programme, which the Agency is currently implementing.