Focus On: Petit Kouraj

After discovering Petit Kouraj some time ago on Instagram, those bags are still on my mind, so I thought it’s worth sharing! The label – the name translates as “little courage” in Haitian Creole – is the creative child of fashion stylist, Nasrin Jean-Baptiste. Born in London to Haitian immigrants, Jean-Baptiste amassed over a decade’s worth of experience as an international fashion stylist before creating her brand. An innate desire to create something meaningful lead Jean-Baptiste to develop a luxury bag line full of unique personality; both lively and chic – qualities quite uncommon within conventional brands. Following a trip to her native country of Haiti in 2018, she was immediately inspired to do something that frightened her – acting from her core, and with the help of a little courage, Petit Kouraj was born. Based in Brooklyn (and handmade in Haiti in partnership with D.O.T Haiti, women-lead organization which works closely with local artisans to provide opportunities, education and vocation training), each of Petit Kouraj’s bags are lovingly handmade using organic cotton net bags, 100% leather handles and rayon fringe. Each strand of fringe is individually sewn 656 times to create the large bags and 342 times for the mini. It’s a labor of love, and it takes 8-12 hours of manual labour to complete a single bag. Petit Kouraj signature accessories are fun, whimsical stand-alone pieces of wearable art that celebrates love for haute-knitwear and identity. Shop them here! And here are some of my favourites:

All photos courtesy of Petit Couraj.

That Tiny Bag: Medea

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Every so often a label appears out of nowhere that piques my interest. Well, maybe not that out of nowhere. I’ve discovered Medea the moment Petra Collins and Dev Hynes took it to the streets. And what is it precisely? That tiny, little bag. “We always were into bags and would spend money on those instead of clothes, so we thought, why not make a very fine leather bag that is shaped like a shopping bag?”, recall Giulia and Camilla Venturini for Vogue. The twin sisters have the bags crafted from matte calfskin leather in Verona, Italy. The Prima has just launched at Dover Street Market, Opening Ceremony and Selfridges, while the collection is expanding. For now, the bags come in eight colors and four sizes, ranging from micro (big enough for your phone) to an XXL version. The designers are also about to release a collection this September, made in collaboration with an artist. Expect the unexpected from this Milan-based label.

Scandi Attitude. Freya Dalsjø SS17

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Copenhagen Fashion Week is a great occasion to observe, how Danes do fashion. This time, I’m in love with Freya Dalsjø‘s spring-summer 2017 collection. Dalsjø has a new take on heritage techniques with an avant-garde approach in her work, deconstructing and exaggerating forms and silhouettes. The collection is quite simple at the first glance, but just have a look at the voluminous coats and parachute dresses. Raw-cut denim and pajama shirts with elongated sleeves make me think of the ‘Vetements factor’, but in a much more clean, Scandinavian version. Dalsjø’s strong point of the collection is the colour palette – lime-green jumpsuits, chocolate-brown skirts and bold-yellow, polished boots. Oh yes, the boots… too good to be true. Always unconventional in model casting, clothes with Freya Dalsjø tag live their life on diverse women with attitude.

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Bold Essentials

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Spring is here, so it’s the high time to supply yourself with fruits, fruits and once more, FRUITS! Or, if you like, accessories which will become your bold essentials of the season. A nutritious, fruity brunch is served – N021 best-selling “knotted” sandals and Ca & Lou double-ring with Swarovski’s stones, only at Concept 21 Store.

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Photographs by me (Edward Kanarecki)

A Big, Chic Bag by No21

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N21 it-bag exclusively available at Concept 21 Store in Poznan.

Alessandro Dell AcQua and his succesful Milan-based label, N21, is storming women’s wardrobes around the world, with its signature, feminine twist. Now, it’s the time to conquer the bag industry. Although it’s not the first season when N21 does bags, spring-summer 2016 is a break-out moment. The extremely functional, voluminous and comfortable “cabas” tote is everything. The soft calfskin bag comes in three colours (brown, burgundy and beige), and you can literally style it with anything. If you are skeptic whether you will be able to find your iPhone, chocolate you’ve taken from a brunch or other thing that saves your daily routine there – no worries. The design team thought of a perfectly fitting pocket inside. Basically, it’s a big bag, but looks as chic as a clutch. And it’s definitely much more realistic! See how was it styled back in Milan

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Freud’s Office. Loewe AW16

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“You are completely relaxed, completely at ease . . . .”

Jonathan Anderson‘s brilliant collection for Loewe felt like a Sigmund Freud’s psychotherapy, which entered your mind. The waiting-room beige shade of Maison de l’UNESCO and the designer chairs from mid-20th century made all the guests relaxed, and feel calmer, even though the Paris Fashion Week’s stir and fuss continues. And, it was a great occasion to see Anderson’s latest vision for the brand, with his artisan touches, eclectic accessories and fabulous bags, which are Loewe’s signature. The clientele of the Spanish label, who supposedly is a base of middle-aged women with an interest in collecting contemporary art and rare furniture, will surely fall in love with these arty mesh skirts and dark tan leathers. “Curated” is as important in this collection, as in the live of these women. The resin cat necklaces came out of the blue, giving an edgy twist to the collection. The minimal corsets were covered with pleats of gold, just like the Arizona totes. Some of the handbags were worn in doubles, while other were made from fringed, oriental textiles. In comparison to last season’s overload of plastic pants and senseless silhouettes, this time Anderson delivered a strong collection, keeping Loewe on the season’s “highlight” list.

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Aurora and Brother Vellies

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Who is Aurora James? She’s the girl every fashion conscious person in New York knows. Shortly, she’s the founder and designer behind Brother Vellies. But her label isn’t an average footwear and accessories one-moment-Instagram-hashtag thing – Aurora is up to something much more significant, and certainly ground-breaking. Bringing fashion, which is both ethnically appropriate and ethically made is a struggle in today’s fashion industry – and the latest spring-summer collection of Valentino proves that, with an all-white model cast wearing tribal, African dresses and cornrows. But Aurora does a totally opposite thing. Rather than saying that her shoes are just “inspired with Kenya”, she really has them made in Kenya, by local craftsmen and women. Naturally, the artisans are properly paid, and have an amazing opportunity to show their real, heritage tradition of shoe making abroad.  “There is a popular saying in South Africa that only two things will survive the apocalypse: cockroaches, and vellies.” The phrase describes the indestructible nature of veldskoens (a South African shoe known colloquially as “vellies”) and an idea that is Aurora’s foundation of her design signature. James believes that her shoes should last for a long time – that’s why the quality of those hand-made shoes, decorated with various types of raffia, furs and feathers, have a solid and durable sole. Moreover, this talented, Brooklyn-based designer won the main CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund award together with the designer behind Gypsy Sport, Rio Uribe, and Jonathan Simkhai! Now, I am extremely curious what will be the next step for Aurora… and I can’t wait to see her shoes in person when they hit Europe.

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First Dibs – Paula Cademartori SS16 Accessories

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Who doesn’t know Paula Cademartori, needs to quickly look her up and keep on the fashion radar! The success of Paula Cademartori‘s accessory line is based on an aesthetic vision focused on intense care for details, combined with the determination to carry out production in Italy. Each bag is conceived as a design object to own and love. The precious seal of each model is a metal buckle, personally designed by Paula supported by her background in jewellery and industrial design. Her new SS16 collection that was presented in Milan a few weeks ago tells one, major thing – fringes and colours will storm the streets next summer… in both, handbags and shoes!

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