Adding leather, fabric, wood and embroidery makes them as unique as they are beautiful. They don't belong only on the beach anymore; they can be used as chic accessories for winter and spring attire or resort collection.
Colombian fibers are often used to make straw bags and have been used by indigenous and country artisans for centuries to weave not only handbags but all types of clothing. They utilize up to 114 species of plants to extract fibers to make their unique creations.
Colombian artisan working with plant fiber
One of the fibers is the chocolatillo which is extracted from the mapuche or tiza plants. The fiber is cooked with various leaves and roots giving it a warm tint and natural color such as black, coffee, and terracotta. To provide a shine, the fibers can also be scraped with a knife or machete, then woven in various traditional patterns.
Michú chocolatillo clutch with recycled resin accent
Fique is the most common fiber used and is the most representative of South America. It comes from the agave plant, which can grow up to 24 feet and has thick leaves and thorns. The process of removing the fiber from the agave plant is very intensive, requiring that each leaf be carefully cut. This allows for the pulp and juices to be separated from the fiber. The resulting fiber is very strong, durable, and resilient.
Another common fiber is the banana, used for its beauty, strength and versatility . It is obtained from the trunk of the plant by hand and entails stacking one trunk of a tree over the other. When it is cleaned and dried it has a natural shine and color and can be used to make straw handbags and many other types of beautiful accessories.
Iraca is a tropical palm which is an important source of palm fibers and is famous for its use in the making of Panama hats. The strong fiber is used for baskets and also in the making of roofs, food and even for symbolic religious rituals. Its history goes back to colonial times but it's believed that it is even more ancient, dating back to ethnic groups of the neotropical regions. In Colombia the village of Usiacurí has the best craftspeople that work with this fiber.
Michú Iraca palm fiber tote with wood and leather accents
And by the way, there is one more benefit we must mention. Using these fibers to make these straw handbags and other fashion accessories helps protect our environment. These are natural fibers, are sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable, making them an excellent choice for a stylish handbag that’s good for our planet as well.
To view our collection of Colombian straw handbags, click here.