BALI, Feb 8 — When it comes to handbags, what you carry makes a statement about who you are. Go to a big city and you will find women carrying all kinds of handbag styles with designer labels. If you collect designer handbags, you’re either one of these schools of thought: “Wow, I would like to have it in that design as well. It’s so trendy!” or “I don’t want to be like everyone, I want an exclusive design.” Depending on the thickness of your wallet, you can even customise your designer handbags.
For most of us, we prefer to look for quality in our handbags, instead of flashing designer logos and we actually consider the price tag (well, you can own a house with that kind of money!).
STRAW by Bali-based Aylin Kanginnadhi is an independent label that gives you the option to look good without breaking the bank. With buttery-soft leather, quality stitching and durability, STRAW bags are practical and beautiful at the same time.
“STRAW began out of a desire to produce beautiful, functional bags for everyday life, designed to fit busy activities and to complement one’s style,” said Aylin.
She works with leather artisans in Bali where she is fortunate enough to be able to design and create the bags directly. Aylin curates the materials she sources locally in Bali, using only excess export production cow leather in the finest quality.
From tote bags to bucket bags to key fobs made of leather, STRAW is an international brand that offers shipping all over the world. Here in Malaysia, you can find them at SNACKFOOD (www.ilovesnackfood.com) in Bangsar.
Her collection exudes a minimalist approach, accentuated with the high quality leather. Colours are also kept neutral, a choice of black and nude. Her Ali bucket bags offer roomy space for your stuff. It’s also easy to access in one movement with the single drawstring closure. Long tassels on both ends of the string closure and understated patterns at the base of the bag, add interest to the bucket bag. It’s available in two sizes: small and medium.
Backpacks are all the rage now. STRAW also carries a range of leather backpacks. For a more elongated structured look, there’s the Leon, while the Aria has a more casual slouchy style with a single drawstring closure.
For a night out, consider an unusual STRAW roll clutch. It’s essentially an unstructured clutch that rolls up like the a paper bag. STRAW also carries a round shaped clutch Ada with adjustable straps. For her next project, Aylin will be working on leather jackets for STRAW.
What makes STRAW different from other brands is that STRAW uses excess export or surplus materials to make its leather products. This cuts down on waste from the leather tanning and dyeing process, and it is good for the environment.
“Travel inspires me and modern art, architecture, geometric figures, nature,” said Aylin when it comes to designing STRAW. Her latest collection takes the name Hypogeum from ancient underground structures in Libya.
Aylin’s favourite bag labels are Kara and Mansur Gavriel — the former for their unexpected play of shapes in their luxurious understated bag line, and the latter for their no-nonsense take on luxury with their highly sought after bucket bags and backpacks.
The Bali-born designer comes from a German/Indonesian-Chinese family and has a background in hospitality, business and marketing. Dissatisfied with the corporate world, Aylin worked for a fashion label in Berlin in 2006 as an illustrator and studio organiser. She also worked in London. Currently, she is a working mother who manages her business from her home studio in Seminyak, Bali where she also runs a restaurant, bar and retail shop called The Straw Hut with her husband and brother.
You can find STRAW products at these stockists:
17A, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Open Tue-Sun 12pm-7pm; Mon closed
Australia: Anika Basics
Bali: The STRAW Hut, Seminyak, Cave
and Cove, Seminyak and Bungawalie,