Ethical & Eco Handbags by Women, for Women.Kate Stuart
Lucia Jombikova, a fashion designer passionate about reducing the impact of waste fabric on landfill, has launched a range of handcrafted handbags and purses to form the core products of her ethical brand The Berry Berry. Utilizing and up-cycling off-cuts from a sofa factory in her Slovakian hometown, as well as textile remnants from recycling centres, fashion designers and even ebay, she employs a team of skilled women, all based in Slovakia and Romania, to create this unique collection of bags.
Lucia is looking to redefine handbag fashion, attempting to make it both ethical and affordable by producing these high quality bags and purses. What’s more, for every 5 bags purchased, Lucia has committed to donating a bag filled with female essentials to Project Purse, a non-profit initiative based in the UK, who then distribute the bags to women in need.
“It was important“, Lucia tells me, “to create an ethical handbag range, as I found only either good looking but expensive handbags or cheaper, non-ethically made handbags. There was a definite gap in the market which now I hope we, at The Berry Berry can close so that women don’t need to compromise style, cost or the environment and no one needs to suffer in the making of the handbag. Women can wear our handbags with pride knowing they’ve empowered other women, the mumpreneurs I employ to sew and make the bags and those other women at Project Purse who also benefit from them purchasing one of our handbags“.
“In the UK alone,” she continues, “there are 1.3 million tons of textile waste each year, in Europe this rises to 4.3 million tons. The British public is seeing a rise in awareness of waste issues, especially plastic waste, but the textile industry is equally as polluting, not to mention, that many clothes are made from plastic fibres. The rise in sustainable and ethical fashion is growing and consumers are demanding more for their products and The Berry Berry gives them what they are asking for.”
Circular business models such as the one Lucia is using at The Berry Berry are so vital to the transformation of industry. Support and investment for businesses that work in this way is important, as by taking resources and materials that were once considered waste, and using them to create new and exciting products there is a much needed shift in focus to put people and planet first.
The Berry Berry has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the larger scale production of their first batch of bags, due to end on the 24th October. Find out more about the campaign, and how you can get involved here.
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