Why We Need Yet Another Straw Bag Brand
Since last summer, there’s been a surge of obsession around straw/raffia bags, and for good reason: Jane Birkin wore them with winter coats, they’re an ideal material to make you feel like you’re on vacation even when you’re at the office … but isn’t one straw bag the same as the next? Do we really need so many options? Global Buying Director at Net-a-Porter (aka one of the women behind stocking your favorite e-tailer with all those straw bags) says Cesta Collective is. "Not only are these bags perfect for the weekend and the workday, but they also stand for something worth supporting,” Elizabeth vond der Goltz tells InStyle.com.
Cesta Collective, founded by fashion industry veterans Erin Ryder and Courtney Weinblatt Fasciano is dedicated not only to chic handbags but to female empowerment through their all-women weaving communities in Rwanda where thy equip artisans weavers with resources needed to establish sustainable and fair work. Their goal? To give women an opportunity to provide for their families … and of course, create stunning bags. They source from a Fair Trade certified B-Corporation in Africa and all of their artisans are paid fair wage, based on the amount of time and energy each piece takes to make.
"After hearing Cesta Collective’s compelling mission statement and seeing the gorgeous product in person, it quickly became clear that this was a line NET-A-PORTER had to get behind,” von der Goltz says. “We felt strongly about the work Cesta Collective was doing."
With Ryder’s background studying design at Parsons and Weinblatt Fasciano’s years in the magazine industry learning about trends, the duo set out to create a product that was both beautiful and made a real difference.
"It is widely reported that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world — only second to oil,” the designers tell us. “And with all of the discussions around the industry's impact on our environment and unsavory human rights practices, we felt inspired to create a brand that's a part of the solution and not a proliferation of the problem.”
Each Cesta bag takes three days to a week to make (all by hand), using locally sourced renewable resources from Rwanda and traditional Rwandan weaving techniques.
"Ubiquity is not interesting to us and we see a lot of value in owning a unique piece with a thoughtful supply chain that is not available on a mass scale,” the designers say. "This is what “luxury” means to us."