InStyle is thrilled to support Let Girls Learn, an initiative launched by the President and First Lady to help adolescent girls around the world go to school and stay in school.
Designers Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung, Diane von Furstenberg, Tanya Taylor, DKNY, Carolina Herrera, and Narciso Rodriguez all pitched in with original designs to honor our October cover star First Lady Michelle Obama and support girls’ education.
Each designer was inspired by a different country where Let Girls Learn is creating lasting change — and 100 percent of the profits from your bag purchase go to support those efforts through the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund.
Currently, more than 62 million girls worldwide are not in school due to a complex set of physical, cultural, and financial barriers.
We know you’ll love the totes as much as we do, and so will your friends, aunts, daughters, sisters—so please help spread the word on the best way to give back in style.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to help: bags are accessibly priced, while these limited-edition pieces last.
1. Carolina Herrera
Herrera was born in Venezuela, but to draw inspiration for her Let Girls Learn tote, she looked south to Peru, a country known for heart-stopping landscapes and diverse plant life. The result: a generous weekend bag every bit as elegant as its creator.
2. Narciso Rodriguez
Rodriguez was inspired by Malawi, a country in southeastern Africa where a Peace Corps Let Girls Learn after-school reading camp reaches more than 9,000 students. “I found the country and its culture fascinating,” says Rodriguez. “Michelle Obama’s initiative is brilliant—she has made enormous contributions to the welfare of so many children and young girls around the world.” The tote features a timeless pattern inspired by Malawi’s national flag.
3. Jason Wu
Wu’s design pays homage to the “eclectic style of Senegalese women and the way they mix prints.” The Peace Corps is running leadership programs in this West African nation to keep more girls there in school. “What better way to empower women than to educate girls so they have the knowledge to take on the future?” says Wu.
4. Prabal Gurung
Gurung says “the colors and textures are so rich” in South Africa, where the Peace Corps is inspiring girls to pursue careers in science and technology through the Girls of Tomorrow Program, which highlights famous female scientists and connects girls with local mentors in the STEM field. This striking tote design from Gurung looks great from any angle.
5. Diane von Furstenberg
“My father was born in Moldova, so it is a country that is very close to my heart,” says von Furstenberg of the former Soviet republic where Peace Corps volunteers are mentoring girls in mobile app design. When creating her design, DVF put her own stamp on a fruit-filled love letter to Moldova, printed on washed denim.
6. Tanya Taylor
“I’ve been drawn to Thailand’s colorful culture and unspoiled landscape for as long as I can remember,” says Taylor, whose parents lived there for years. The designer, known for her artful use of color, extends her signature aesthetic to a festive bag.
DKNY designers Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow were inspired by Jamaica, where the Peace Corps volunteers are promoting literacy. “My family is from Jamaica,” says Maxwell. “It’s a small country with such a large personality and global reach.” He and Chow want to help young girls “become successful, empowered women.”