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.
‘Jimaguas’ means twins in Cuba. Sayana and Claudia, Spain-based twin sisters who happen to be designers, define Gimaguas not just a clothing brand, but as their personal story. Both of them love to travel the world in search of unique, well-made handcraft. The label was born in 2016, while studying fashion (Sayana) and finance (Claudia) in London (this way, a perfect bounding of experiences took place). Every capsule collection is created in close co-operation with artisans from around the globe: Jaipur, Madagascar, Laos and Mexico, just some examples. Despite the fact that Gimaguas is an online retailer, Sayana and Claudia like to give a more personal approach to every collection through pop-ups in Barcelona, Madrid, London or New York. This way the designers can present one-of-a-kind products and all the stories behind them in the most intimate of ways. What Gimaguas feels like? A continuous selection of unique goods that evoke the twins’ love for summer, travelling, walking barefoot and collecting treasures from hidden paradises. At the moment, the label sells wool crossbody bags with floral embroideries, wool ponchos and cardigans (all hand-made in Mexico), duvet jackets made by women in Karuna Social Programme in Nepal and easy, vintage-y jewellery that will bright up any look. Nearly every piece is low in stock, if not already sold out (and they were “dropped” just a few days ago!). Gimaguas proves that ethical fashion can be both affordable and beautiful. Discover more right here.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Doing a travel-themed collection is risky, because the designer might easily slip down the pitfall of clichés. But such terms like ‘oriental’, ‘cowboy’ or ‘tribal’ don’t match Jonathan Anderson‘s sophisticated line-up for Loewe. “I want something that people will want to go and touch,” he told the press after the show. Actually, you really want to touch these clothes. The richness of textures is just insane. And it’s even more absorbing, when you realise that each piece has its story, an entire cultural identity behind it. Like a de luxe globe-trotter, the Loewe woman has African and South American traditional handicraft all over her wardrobe; the woven pieces were made according to traditional Peruvian techniques, while fringed sarong skirt seemed to come straight from Argentina. She’s been to Morocco, too, from where the season’s must-have elf-toed sneakers origin – Anderson based the idea on woven sandals coming from that country. Again, another designer would carelessly go a step further and touch the soft topic of cultural appropriation. Anderson plays fair, he finds inspiration and does it with great respect.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.