5 posts tagged with Mad Imports

Mad Imports Tusk Nairobi BagWe’ve featured a few bags by Mad Imports, and they have done it again with this awesome Mad Imports Tusk Nairobi Handbag. Mad Imports is a one-of-a-kind handbag brand; they collaborate with artisans in Madagascar and Kenya, making handbags from only renewable materials. Furthermore, founder Laurel Brandstetter helps promote economic independence in poverty-stricken families by doing so.

This bag is so unique. It’s not like many organic items, which are carefully branded in order to emulate “the real thing,” or the un-organic product. No, this bag has a rough edge, but that roughness makes it interesting and noticeable. The bag is made of wool and sisal, an agave that yields a fibrous yarn, which meshes nicely with the white bone beads on the suede strap. The whole effect is utterly special, informal and chic at once. I’m personally really into organic things, but I’ve never brought that interest into clothing and handbags: maybe it’s about time I did. Buy through Shopbop for $100.

It may be woefully in conflict with the politically correct party line for me to admit this, but I really don’t like the majority of the “eco-friendly” bags that I’ve seen. I love the idea, and I think it’s great that more designers are trying to do things that are positive for the environment, but I don’t think the trend has come far enough for it to be regularly producing bags that rank up there with traditional brands. I have found one brand that I really, really like, however: Mad Imports.

Mad Imports Opal Applique Clutch

They’ve made a bag or two that I don’t like, but I’m in love with most of their collection. My most recent object of affection is the Mad Imports Opal Applique Clutch. It’s hard to combine so many colors in one bag without creating some serious problems, but these colors were picked well and go together beautifully. The natural-colored straw provides enough of a neutral backdrop for the sunny hues and the large, wooden oval on the closure provides a focal point to center the design. The bag also comes in solid olive green and magenta if you’re not in to the stripes, but I think the color combination is the way to go. Buy through Nordstrom for $88.

Mad Imports Cloudberry ToteWhen you look at this picture, what do you see? I know you probably see straw, but what else? In a larger sense? When I look at the Mad Imports Cloudberry Tote, I see mini shredded wheat cereal; even the name sounds like the name of a breakfast food. Every little puff looks like a little cereal glob, and it looks like they’ve all be strung together to make a handbag.

An ill-advised handbag at that. I’m all for straw totes, and I generally like the things that I’ve seen from Mad Imports quite a bit, but I am simply not okay with this. Not even in a kitschy, summer way. It’s just weird looking and I somehow doubt that even if you were to buy it that it would last very long. The puffy nature of the straw is just asking to collapse if the bag is stressed – smooshed under and airplane seat on the way to the beach, for example. And what good is a straw tote if you can’t beat it up and not worry about it? Unfortunately, this handbag isn’t particularly good in idea OR execution. Buy through Shop Bop for $88.

Mad Imports Ile. Ste. Marie Straw Tote
You know what I think when I see a great big straw tote in fun colors? I think, “Why in the world do I not go on more vacations?” Ostensibly, I was at the beach in early April for a wedding, but I was only actually on the sand for about half an hour and I never went into the ocean. Before that, it was….I don’t even remember when. And bags like the Mad Imports Ile. Ste. Marie Straw Tote make me want to change that immediately.

I think summer and straw are the only circumstances that would make this kind of pattern and these kinds of colors all in one bag ok, but I think that’s part of the beauty of warm weather and the coast. Thing go that wouldn’t normally, we can all wear our hair as it naturally is, and no one expects you to be in your totally binding city clothes. So toss me one of these totes and a linen dress, I’ll see y’all later. Or not. Just kidding. I’m not that lucky. But I might still order the bag. Buy through Shop Bop for $85.

I may very well have already dubbed another bag as my favorite clutch of the summer, but with the advent of new information (and new bags!), I would like to take that back, at least tentatively. And the clutch that has me doubting my previous decision is the Mad Imports Ariel Ombre Woven Clutch. The economically priced and environmentally friendly clutch of woven raffia features a subtle pattern of light straw woven into the chocolate brown body, creating the ombre effect that gives the clutch its name. The end result is incredibly chic and also very understated; this bag doesn’t scream about its appearance, it merely whispers to those paying attention.

Mad Imports Ariel Ombre Woven Clutch

I can only imagine how many friends (and probably strangers) would ask me about this clutch if I was to carry it on a night out during warm weather. Anyone who’s looking for something understated but still enormously stylish would do well to order this bag right away – at that price point, I don’t think they’ll have them in stock for long. Buy through ShopBop for $80.