Timeless classic designs and 100% recycled goat leather. Such handsome bags these, totally love them, brought to us by What Alice Did. We love that they are beautiful designs, very nicely made and the ethos behind the company themselves. These bags will last a long time and will improve with age. Time to get them in your life !
The idea behind the range was to create something that wouldn't cost the earth, and also live a long life. They have used timeless styles and hard wearing materials in a protest against synthetic and disposable fashion. They are strong believers in slow fashion, a term which describes our battle against consumerism in the fashion industry. It encourages consumers to slow down and make more conscious consumption decisions by asking a few simple questions. Where is the product made? Who made the product, and are they being treated fairly? What environmental impact has it had? How durable is it? Is the product part of a micro trend limiting its usage? Are you buying from a reputable company?
To create the bags they work with two brothers in India called Pinu and Manish who they visit every year. Pinu and Manish share responsibility such as sourcing materials, distributing the work between the communities, paying tailors and managing orders.
For The Forest Collection the leather comes from abattoirs where the animals have come from small scale and community farming. These bags do not use any chemical tanning as this process has drastic effects on local water supplies and workers health. In fact in the main tanning district of Bangladesh 80% of workers have a serious health issue. Much of the farmland is unuseable and much of the water undrinkable. These bags are tanned in sunlight and oiled with vegetable oils.
They have 60 families (thirty women and fifty seven men) producing the bags for them. They live in small communities in a 60km radius of the brothers home. Many of the tailors are ex shoe makers that lost their jobs in the trade shift to China. All tailors are paid a fair commission, with living wage realistically achievable within normal working hours. All tailors work from home and have complete working flexibility. Flexible work is great for their tailors as it means they can work around other commitments such as university and parenting.
The machinery, tools and electricity (when used) is all supplied to them by Pinu and Manish.
They do not use any child, elderly or forced labour. Workers set their own deadlines for what they can produce, meaning no pressure is put on them to meet deadlines. They work around them, so to speak. They also keep work availability consistent by building up stock during quiet times.
Babu and Raju are the master tailors, who train fellow tailors, create their templates and turn our designs into reality. Babu and Raju are both studying Art at university and these very talented brothers are responsible for The Forest Collection.
We try to use every scrap of leather, and any leftovers are sold on to a small jewellery making company to minimise waste. The lining in the bags is all deadstock and end of roll cotton. What Alice Did are a member of www.bafts.org.uk - The British Association of Fairtrade Shops and Suppliers and they are partnered with The Woodland Trust to reduce their carbon footprint.