By Arwa Lodhi
Kayu has long been one of our favourite bag brands. Who could resist their sweet little clutches, embellished with crystal or stone clasps, or their cheery straw totes, so perfect for beach holidays? But recently, the brand has upped their game and come out with some sleek, sophisticated styles that have us drooling with bag-lust.
Sure, there are some adorable clutches, and as always, they come with that fine, jewellery inspired shoulder strap that you can wear, or tuck into the bag. But now, this vegan bag collection features velvety textures, bucket bags and wood handled handbags to choose from, too.
And speaking of wood, did you know Kayu means “wood” in Malay? The brand was named in honour of Jamie Lim’s cultural heritage and her commitment to using natural materials like straw, wood, crystals and shells. Not only are all of Lim’s bags eco-friendly, but each piece has been handcrafted by women in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, using their indigenous artisanal traditions to do so, thus preserving their traditional way of life and providing them with a living wage.
You could say Kayu is a bit of a feminist brand: it’s comprised of an all woman team, each member of which is passionate about ensuring that everyone working at Kayu has the right to develop to her fullest potential and earn a living wage. These bags are made by women and mothers, and weaving allows them to work from home, look after their children and also provides them with a source of income.
The brand is well known for allowing you to personalise your bag with your initials, and their monogramming is done by new female immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area. This initiative provides these women with practical training and an alternative source of income.
Clearly, the ethics behind the brand are impeccable – but it’s the latest styles that are giving us a serious case of the wants. Just check out the new bag collection by Kayu below, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same!