Beaded Handbags and Eco-conscious Fashion

Lissette Cortes Lade

Posted on January 20 2019

black and white beaded straw crossbody handbag with gold chain and 24K gold plated bronze image of a cat, matching statement beaded earrings with gold cat.

Authors: Lissette Cortes Lade and Robert Kravitz

They’re everywhere in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles.  You can see them on runways all over the world from Paris to New York. Women everywhere are finding that they add that extra bit of style and pizzazz that makes every outfit - and every woman - look terrific.

We’re talking about beaded handbags. Our new line features a collection of handmade beaded bags made by designers in collaboration with a unique group of Colombian artisans, the Embera Chami. Their crafted handbags have a vibe that is at once retro and undeniably fresh, adding sparkle and life to just about any spring or summer outfit.

Straw beaded handbag with parrots and leaves, with crossbody gold chain and parrot keychain

The Embera Chami tribe are famous worldwide for their skills in the intricate art of beadwork. These are skills that take years to master and are passed on from one generation to the next.

Embera means “people” and Chami means “mountains” in the tribe’s language, which reflects their close connection to Mother Earth and their culturally significant respect for our planet.  

Embera working on beaded designs

They are one of the few indigenous communities in Columbia that continue to maintain the speech of their own dialect, and the practices of cultural expressions and ancestral spirituality, according to author Ana Maria Parada.  She informs us:

“The Embera are known for their unique beading knowledge and skills. The Embera paint a picture with miniature glass-beads that reflects their ancestral lifestyle, strongly connected to the earth. Their beadworks contain unique symbolisms that talk about their natural environment, social codes, and spiritual connections.”

Their beadwork can only be described as fine art. Each item they make, whether it’s a handbag or any other fashion accessory, can take weeks if not months to complete. We view their skills and their products as exceptional, and we are sure you will as well.  Further, and very importantly, we respect and appreciate that they are so focused on environmental conservation.

The collaboration of the Embera Chami with Colombian designers is what we call responsible fashion, which also happens to be unique, durable, and beautiful.

We want to ensure that their time and labor is not only appreciated, but helps provide them with a comfortable living and the ability to support their families, as well as keeping their local communities strong and vibrant.  

Together, with your purchase of one these finely crafted handbags, we are helping to accomplish this and are ensuring their craftsmanship is passed on to future generations.

Straw beaded handbag with black and white pattern of leave and gold crossbody chain

Click here to see our collection of beaded handbags and here for matching beaded earrings.

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