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Green Is The New Black

Ethical Bags For Every Occasion

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Positive luxury is what they call it. Creative and conscious, Kmana makes a bag for every person and every occasion. They equip the wanderers and the do-gooders with a leather bag to travel the world with, whether that’s to Morrocco or around the corner to your yoga studio. These are the bags that we’ve got our eyes on. 

There is something about a leather bag that really gets us — timeless, durable, and so soft. But most importantly, it’s androgynous. Leather can swing both ways, and there is something very sexy about wearing your partner’s jacket or bag. It’s this androgyny that first attracted us to Kmana, a brand who produce modern classics that can be used by men and women. Born out of the desire to create luxury leather bags that are as ethical as leather can be, the travel-focused collections are also durable enough to explore every untrodden corner of the earth. 

For starters, yes, Kmana works with real leather, and we understand that this may not be for everyone — the debate surrounding its sustainability, ethics and environmental impact is ongoing. That said, vegan leather, also known as pleather or faux leather, may not be that much better. Why? Because synthetic leathers are made with plastic (and toxins) and also uses petroleum in its production, thus has us questioning its impact. So whether it’s really better for the environment is debatable. Sometimes a cut of vintage leather or ethically sourced and produced is better; it really depends on you. But if you’re going to invest in leather, let us tell you why Kmana is a good choice. 

The Bali-based family-run business is guided by the motto less is more and is the epitome of slow fashion. Every piece is handmade and further elevated by a striking cloth lining adorned with geometrical patterns. The fabric is hand-loomed in the village of Karang, in Nusa Penida, a small island next to Bali. The leather Kmana uses is a by-product of the food industry, and is locally sourced from the finest family-run tanneries in East Java, Indonesia. Each bag is cut from one piece of full-grain cow leather or sheep leather (i.e. one hide) ensuring fewer seams and less waste. They also partner with like-minded individuals and workshops in Java to ensure the quality and transparency of the tanning process, which uses vegetables, local tree barks and leaves to tan the hide, and endeavour to minimise their environmental and societal impact, namely through waste management procedures. 

Kmana’s collections are inspired by travel journalists and world explorers like Bruce Chatwin and free-spirit poets like Maya Angelou. And the name? It comes from Bali’s ubiquitous greeting ‘Mau ke mana’So far they have produced several small-batch collections of handbags, totes and weekenders that are clean, with subtle detailing and timeless elegance — and all of them have caught our eye for making a statement and being sustainable at the same time. Whatever the occasion, they make a bag for it — and we made picking one a little easier for you. 

For the concertgoers

LADY HESTER 1: The Funny Pack by Kmana 

Concerts are typically short and sweet, and also come loaded with concessions. And since they’re also usually not so friendly towards bringing your own bottle, this means that you can pack light and leave your hands free to do whatever it is they do when your favourite song comes on. The lightweight and hands-free solution is the almighty fanny pack. Kmana’s variation of this bum bag is called the Funny Pack from their Lady Hester collection. Going against the grain of typical waist bags, this one is far from sporty looking and is instead intricate and chic. It’s made vegetable-tanned full-grain cow leather that’s been hand woven and is belted with a brown buckle. It comes in two colours, black and green, and will elevate any outfit — even the fanciest of dresses. 

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For the festivalgoer

MAYA 1 – The String Backpack by Kmana

MAYA 1: The String Backpack by Kmana

Packing for a festival is a precarious job because a purse is too small, but you just don’t want to carry around anything bigger than that. For that, there’s a backpack. Fortunately, backpacks are enjoying somewhat of a comeback since we used them in grade school and today we see some elegantly designed products that don’t compromise on style, sustainability or ethics to get their job done. The Cat Backpack is case in point, which is made from minimally processed chromed leather (sheep-hide) and comes embellished with two super chic cat ears for a kitschy effect. If looking for something a bit subtler, then opt for the String Backpack for an effortlessly cool look. 

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For the officegoer

CHATWIN 4: Working Tote Leather Bag by Kmana

Listen, just because you have to lug a laptop, a couple of reusable bottles and your lunch to the office every day, you should be no means be sacrificing your style to get it all there. The Working Tote Leather Bag by Kmana from the Chatwin collection is especially roomy but still designed in a way that we would describe as timelessly elegant. A laptop and still more easily slides into the zippered compartment and you can even squeeze in some extras in the side pockets. Made from vegetable-tanned cow leather and fixtures with a leather handle, the bag is perfect for your commute to the office — your hubby also won’t have any qualms with carrying this kind of bag for you. 

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For the yogi

CHATWIN 8 – Yoga Leather Mat Bag by Kmana

If you want to make a statement on your way to a yoga class, then the Yoga Leather Mat Bag from the Chtawin collection by Kmana will do just that. The bag reinvents a classic yoga mat carrier into a luxury item by combining vegetable-tanned cow leather, artisanal craftsmanship and contemporary design. The bag comes in both black and tawny brown, and each is lined with a different material, depending on what the women weavers have produced and is available in stock. The two front straps and side brass rings add a little extra jazz to the otherwise minimally chic carrier. 

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For the travellers

CHTAWIN 1 – Leather Duffel Bags by Kmana

With every new duffel bag that falls under our radar, we are more and more inclined to ditch our rolling carry on in favour of actually carrying a bag. That’s especially true for Kmana’s leather duffel bags, which are androgynously cool while being spacious, beautiful and timeless staples to add to your collection. We’re big fans of these bags, especially because we can trade them with our partner. 

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For the overnighter

CHATWIN 2 – The Maxi Weekender Bag by Kmana

Perhaps your commute from work is long, or you just enjoy curling up next a friend at the end of the day, but if you find yourself always spending the night somewhere, then you’ll know that a purse isn’t enough, but a suitcase is too much. Introducing the Maxi Weekender Bag, ideally sized for one or two nights out. The bag uses a buttery soft vegetable-tanned cow leather that is in equal parts socially responsible, sustainable, and stylish for an altogether functional but also amazingly durable weekender bag—made from him and her. 

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For the partygoer

LADY HESTER 2 – The Cross-body Bag by Kmana

The Cross-body Bag from the Lady Hester 2 collection is the obvious player for a night out on the town. The bag’s design reimagines crochet craftsmanship by head weaving leather for a beautifully subtle embellishment. The bag is entirely handmade right down to the zipper and comes in black or green vegetable-tanned full-grain cow leather.

Shop here

Visit Kmana’s online store here or connect with on Facebook or Instagram

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Olivia is a bon vivant with an insatiable appetite for...everything. Upon being horrified at the amount of rubbish she produced in a single day, her journey towards finding a better balance between being extravagant yet sustainable began. Like most obsessions, down the rabbit hole she went and it wasn’t long before she decided to shift her sustainable preachings from Friday nights after too much wine to every day at Green Is The New Black. Olivia is still trying to figure all this ‘the end of the world’ stuff out, so she is keepin’ it real, one super small #LittleGreenStep at a time. Be like Olivia.