The modern take on the pandanus bag, in a tote and a backpack design, brings together the Kiwi fashion brand’s well-known chic-meets-utility style with traditional handwork by women from remote communities in Fiji.
Leather handles and strap detailing makes them easy to sling on to carry the essentials, whether you’re on your way to work or the beach.
Established in 2014, Rise Beyond the Reef supports rural indigenous women and their families in Fiji by providing sustainable pathways of work; creating handmade goods that are a true reflection of ecological, cultural, and social values, all the while promoting climate-smart agriculture initiatives.
The two bag styles have been handwoven in Ra Province, a coastal community on the Northern part of Viti Levu. In Sabeto Valley, Rise Beyond the Reef’s Studio Collection team oversees the leather finishing and completion of the bags and in the process offers professional job training to youth from partner rural communities.
The process of creation, from planting the pandanus to the finishing touches on the bags, are a testament to the communities’ ongoing commitment to both sustainable craftsmanship and community collaboration.
“This collaboration is more than design,” says Karen Walker. “It’s about intertwining stories, traditions, and a vision for a sustainable future. Having always held Fiji as one of my family’s and my favourite destinations, I’m thrilled to showcase a piece of its heart alongside Rise Beyond the Reef.”
Janet Lotawa, director and co-founder of Rise Beyond the Reef, says the collaboration has been a journey of mutual respect and learning.
“It’s an alignment of values, and together, we hope to make a meaningful impact, not just in the world of fashion but in the lives of our rural communities,” she says.
The Rise Beyond the Reef x Karen Walker bags will be available from 6 December in Karen Walker stores and karenwalker.com for $155 each.
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