By Diane Small
Dear reader, I apologise in advance. I know that we’re all supposed to be subscribing to the ‘buy less, buy better’ credo, but after laying your eyes on the offerings of Cult Gaia, the label behind our latest vegan bag obsession, you will want to throw your scruples out the door, grab your credit card, and buy everything.
It’s because Jasmin Larian, the designer behind this Los Angeles-based label, knows what women want: chic, cruelty-free bags that make them feel like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday – lighthearted, stylish and freely exploring new, exotic territories. She knows we want to make a statement that says: we care about our planet, whilst simultaneously channelling the glamour of Sophia Loren in the 1950s film The Gold of Naples.
Indeed, Larian draws inspiration from vintage pieces and classical eras to create her bags, made of straw, upcycled acrylic and all natural bamboo (and if you think that having a bag made out of wood is impractical, think again: many styles are designed so that they can collapse flat if they need to be packed). The designer, who actually started her career by making headbands, has now included floaty cotton dresses, viscose tops and pantsits, wicker bangles and wooden earrings to her range.
Of course, Cult Gaia isn’t really new – it’s been an influencer staple brand for some time, with its half-circle ‘Ark’ bag being one of its most popular designs, seen on Instagrammers like Haley Boyd and Reese Blutstein, as well as in the hands of Beyonce and Rihanna.
It’s probably that celebrity factor that has led to waitlists of over 2,500 for some items and sales more than doubling year after year. You could say the brand has a ‘cult’ like following – and it’ not for nothing that Larian named her brand Cult Gaia: she explained to Fashionista magazine that she thinks “…every amazing brand initially is really a cult, and is a force of like-minded, kindred spirits and people who all are into a similar thing, and I hope that we can ignite that.”
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