My family owned an estate in north eastern Trinidad in the town of Sangre Chiquito, and I have vivid memories of sitting on large brown jutte or "crocus"bags as they were commonly known, that were filled to the brim with oranges, cocoa and coffee beans. These bags were used extensively in agriculture and have a far from glamorous reputation. This humble material was the inspiration for one of our most popular items, the by Charles & Co large colourful jutte tote bag.
The "How to Spend It" section of the Financial Times recently ran an article about the emergence of natural materials in the world of high fashion. The article cited 13 luxury fashion houses that are using natural fibre materials in "must-have" items this season.
The Financial Times' hugely popular How To Spend It magazine recently published the role of natural fibres in high fashion.
One of the items is an Ermanno Scervino woven raffia bag with leather handles which retails for over 2,500 Eur. Seeing this article took me back to the design process. I was very worried that the material I chose for our large tote bags was going to be too rustic and just too sentimental. Now seeing that big name luxury designers have realised that "natural is in" confirms that a classic never dies.
This bag from Ermanno Scervino retails for over 2,500 Euros and is made from raffia.
This was a lesson in how times have changed. Just as high fashion designers have embraced "streetwear", natural is the new luxury. Items made of unbleached cotton, vegan leather and raffia are burning up the runways. They remind us of far flung places where the sun always shines. This "new" take on fashion is essentially the Caribbean. The luxury world has finally caught on to what Caribbean people knew all along.
Promoting contemporary Caribbean style is what Charles & Co is all about. All of our products are sustainable, organic or created using energy saving methods. As a collection of small island states, the region understands the importance of recycling and conservation. Getting back to basics in the use of our materials is just the start. Sustainable fashion, reusing items and avoiding plastic will go a long way to preserving the gems of the Caribbean.