By Chere Di Boscio
Imagine the chance to go into a remote area of a country you’ve never been to, and to work directly with the local people, learning about their artisanal traditions and ways of life, whilst using the new skills you’ve acquired to create something beautiful.
That’s exactly what happened to Pam Samasuwo-Nyawiri, the talented winner of the ABURY Design Experience 2015, Pam spent two months in Ecuador creating an artisanal handbag collection with local communities. ABURY re-invests 50% of the profits from all the bags in education projects in the respective countries. The first edition received applications from 35 nationalities with Pam coming out victorious thanks to the public vote. The Zimbabwean designer, who is the mother of two girls, had no previous knowledge of Spanish, and said the first few days were an enormous challenge ‘but that the warmth of the people and our joint passion for preservation of their beautiful crafts quickly enabled a bond”.
The resulting collection, called “A Non Existent Tribe” consists of six unique handbags in a mix of vegetable tanned and dyed leather, bast and local alpaca wool. The collection draws inspiration from the Himba tribes of Namibia and the indigenous people of Ecuador; the link between the two cultures is the way both carry objects around with them.
Pam’s goal was to bring to life a visual identity drawing from both cultures that would celebrate their traditional ways of craftsmanship, adding a modern twist. The collection highlights the beauty of natural materials, and every single bag is unique due to the innate differences of the fabrics from which they were created.
The handbags are a true homage to the arts, crafts and the people behind them. As one Ecuadorian artisan stated proudly: ”I am always afraid to try new things. I did not understand what Pam wanted to do with just a weaved object but then I saw the fusion with the leather, my heart warmed up. I did this! – I shouted.”
The collection consists of 6 styles of bags ranging from 190-340 Euro.
You can order your bags in an exclusive pre-sale with a 20% earlybird discount at www.wowcrazy.com
Photo shoot by @Suzana Holtgrave
Ecuador images by @Franziska Uhlmann