This Rising It Bag Brand Is Doing Sustainability Right

Lauren Alexis Fisher
Photo credit: Courtesy

From Harper's BAZAAR

We're always on the hunt for the next cool bag brand. The latest designer on our radar doesn't hail from a major fashion capital like New York or Paris. Instead, a small, female-led brand based out of Jakarta is catching our eye for all the right reasons.

You may have seen Alfeya Valrina's colorful mini bags on the street style scene at Fashion Week or while scrolling Instagram. But beyond creating a buzzy new micro bag that's 'gram-worthy, the designer built something much bigger: a sustainable fashion brand that supports fair labor and local artisans in her native country, Indonesia.

SHOP ALFEYA VALRINA BAGS

Valrina studied fashion design in New York and L.A. at FIT and FIDM. But when it came time to launch her own brand, the young designer opted out of the traditional New York or Italy-based route, instead moving back to her native Indonesia to build something that could support her home country.

At a time when fashion brands around the world are struggling to get sustainability right, Valrina built her brand with zero-waste, fair labor, and ethical sourcing at its core. Instead of importing leathers from Europe, the brand only uses materials locally sourced from tanneries throughout Indonesia. Valrina employs local artisans to create jobs and promote fair wages–an especially important practice in Indonesia, where many large fashion brands exploit factory workers with extremely low pay and dangerous working conditions.



The artisans use minimal machinery, which saves on energy consumption and reduces the brand's carbon footprint. Bags are produced on-demand to avoid overstocking and excess products, and leftover pieces are up-cycled into new accessories to eliminate waste.

As for the bags themselves, the styles range from croc-embossed leather to smooth, buttery finishes in an array of colors. The mini Joe Joe bag, available in playful textures including shiny patent red, lime-green corduroy, and glam black croc, became an instant favorite amongst the fashion set. The prices range from $98 - $350, making for an affordable bag that you don't have to feel guilty about—a rarity in today's fast fashion-filled world .

After many decades of It bags coming solely from the world's biggest fashion houses, the rise of a small, one woman-led brand like Alfeya Valrina indicates more stylish women are trading in the fancy logos for purchases they can actually feel good about.

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