What’s better than a beautiful chic handbag made entirely from recycled materials? How about one that is not only eco-friendly, recycled, and supercute – but also engages fair-trade and socially empowering business practices by employing Brazilian craftswomen in hand production of the bags?
The word “Escama” means fish scales in Portuguese, and we can’t think of a better way to describe these gorgeously chic handbags – which indeed look like fish scales, and also a bit like a softer version of chain-mail. Happily, Escama’s purses are as ethical and eco-friendly as they are cute and clever, meaning you can splurge on one of these babies and actually feel like you are doing something positive for the planet.
This versatile, glamorous yet practical Escama handbag shown above is made from over 700 aluminum pull-tabs recycled from soda cans in Brazil. The artists who make the bags work in two craft cooperatives in economically depressed ‘satellite cities’ of Brasília, Brazil. The cooperatives offer women in the community a means to earn money through handicrafts and business training. Prices of goods are set by the cooperatives, artists are paid fairly for their piecework, and in addition, Escama donates 3% of gross annual sales directly back to the cooperatives.
The best part is that each bag is individually handcrafted by one woman and each comes with a personal note from the artist who made it, connecting consumer and producer through quality design. I personally own two of these bags (the Socorro and Chica Rosa) and I get a ton of compliments whenever I carry them out in public. I can honestly say that Escama is one of my favorite designs of all time, and I cannot say enough good things about this fabulous company and their brilliant designs and globally integrated manufacturing process. Go Escama!