In collaboration with Kantala Bags
In the era of fast fashion, celebrity-designed collections and “luxury” that all tends to look the same, it’s not easy to find authentic designs that actually tell a story. That’s why we were so excited to come across Kantala, a brand that goes beyond appearances to weave a tale of artisanal craftsmanship, unique designs and respect for the planet.
Inspired by a 300-year-old traditional hand-weaving technique, this brand combines Sri Lankan influences with functionality for a modern lifestyle – all without harming animals, humans or the environment. The brand was launched in 2013 by Vikum Rajapakse and Nadishan Shanthikumar, who both believed that their country of Sri Lanka could be more than a manufacturing destination – the country’s natural resources, ample reserves of knowledge and rich history could be the basis for a thriving fashion brand – also thus helping local artisans and craftsmen earn a sustainable livelihood. When Vikum discovered a village outside of Kandy in Sri Lanka where artisans used traditional looms to create mats woven from plant fibres, the idea for Kantala was born.
Today the band offers a range of totes, handbags, wristlets and purses woven from the thick rosette of the Hana plant which grows in Sri Lanka (the brand name Kantala is in fact the Sanskrit name of said plant) and which can yield fibres up to two metres in length. Artisans in Henavala, Sri Lanka, are responsible for the meticulous weaving of the material that makes up the basis of the bags – a traditional loom is still used to weave the fabric. The leather-like straps and accessories are actually made from Pinatex, the miraculous leather replacer by Ananas Anam, made from pineapple waste fibres and channelled recently in collections by brands like Bourgeois Boheme. And the Kantala logo is printed on upcycled coconut shells. The brand is PETA-Approved Vegan and Good Market Approved, making it an all-around winner for those who wish to add a hint of colour to their wardrobe (and don’t we black-aholics all need it) with a clear conscience. In 2016, the brand received the Sustainable Sourcing Award from Good Market for their use of OEKO Tex and ISO-certified dyes and natural dyes.
With the crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, the brand aims for international expansion, but that’s not its only goal – the funds it will collect will also fund a Hana fibre extracting machine and help set up a weavers co-operative.
These colourful accessories are the perfect addition to an all-black day-to-night look and will brighten up a casual daytime ensemble with their joyous range of hues and unique detailing. Spacious and practical, they’re an ideal companion for day-to-day life, whether you’ll opt for a roomy tote bag or an elegant wristlet. This brand is one to watch, and we know we’ll be seeing more of them soon.
All photos courtesy of Kantala