MLANGO: Handwoven Red, Orange and Green Backpack
Support sustainable crafts and possess your own Kenyan work of art: made once, sold once. The MLANGO woven backpack is the ultimate summertime accessory and festival bag. This ethically-produced bag features bands of red, orange and green in an elaborate tribal design and is woven by a member of Kenya’s highly talented Kamba tribe, working within a cooperative.
Woven using yarn from second-hand jumpers, MLANGO will bring a pop of Kenyan colour and craft to any look you’re pulling off. Once the four days of weaving work is done, these woven backpacks bags are sent to a local tannery where soft, cow hide shoulder straps are made and fitted by skilled leather workers.
Sustainable through and through, MLANGO's metal bead rivets are made from recycled and sand-casted brass by artisans living in Nairobi’s Kawangware slum.
Each one of these woven bags is a true one-off, woven in the weaver’s preferred designs and using what recycled, coloured yarns are available. Backpacks take up to four days to weave, in between farming, housework, childcare and church. Basket weaving is a reliable source of additional income to these people, whose livelihoods otherwise depend on the unpredictable nature of agricultural work.
Want to know more about the people behind the bags? Meet the weavers HERE
Material: SISAL & RECYCLED WOOL (NATURAL & SYNTHETIC) LEATHER STRAPS
Dimensions: Bottom Diameter: 23cm, Basket Height: 24cm
Leather used is a by-product of the food industry.
Please note, as this is a handmade product, dimensions & colour may vary from those shown in the photographs.
HANDMADE IN KENYA
Our journey into sustainable style began in Kenya, and the lion’s share of our woven baskets are Kenyan-made. Whilst every region of Kenya boasts its own rich natural bounty, each cooperative we partner with offers expertise in its own unique form of basketry. Weaving, dyeing and grass-rolling techniques differ across the regions as much as basket shapes, patterns and structures. These precious crafts are woven through the generations within families - passed along continuous thread from mother to daughter - protecting and preserving an art form as old as man.
Vast and colourful, vibrant and bursting with natural beauty and style, our fair trade baskets are as eclectic as their homeland and its people. From sisal grass to doum palm, banana leaf fibres to palm leaf, each weaving cooperative works with what is locally available and only what can be sustainably sourced, to produce beautiful baskets which are 100% Kenyan made, and ethically produced. All cow hide bag tags, straps, and basket labels are made from leather sourced as a by-product of the food industry. Natural dyes come from pounded roots, bark and vegetables of the region, whilst all synthetic dyes are sustainably sourced.
From the Kamba tribe to the camel-herding Ariaal pastoralists of Northern Kenya, you can read more about the lives of the Kenyan weavers we work with - and the wonderful baskets they produce - below.