First was the kanga, the kikoy and the leso – they all hold impeccable reputations even in the international fashion scene. Then there was the Maasai Sandal, beaded with quality elements such as turquoise and sapphire, perfect for the summers and for short walks. Now there are the Madagascar raffia bags adorned with maasai beadwork dramatically accentuating these works of delicate craft! The vital elements haven’t changed though- the uniqueness behind these fashion statements remains! Fashion conscious or not, this is one accessory that can always provide chic finish to its wearer. Pick up a bag or two this summer at http://www.sokomaasai.com
The bag is simple and authentic. It is made mostly by groups of Maasai women using the highest quality beads from the Czech Republic. Leather is also incorporated to bring out the most interesting designs and artifacts! Other very special materials that bring out the Madagascar Raffia Bag include non mulberry silk, sea grass, cotton sisal, straws, jute, papers and leisure raffia!
Where can they be found?
The raffia bags are made across Kenya by small business proprietors, mostly from the Maasai Community. One such company is Raffia Bags Kenya. They are also manufactured internationally by those who have embraced the skill along the way. Global fashion has indeed embraced the Madagascar raffia bag and Liz Doyle, an author, has gone out of her way to display this in her book titled ‘How to Make Raffia Hats, Bags & Baskets.’ Many outlets on the streets of Nairobi stock the raffia bag along with other African materials of art and attire.
Is there variety?
There are absolutely no worries of walking down any street feeling like a copy cat! The first point of difference is the material used- a bag can be of sisal, of leather or of both. Secondly are the added decorations and the sizes and shapes that the bags take. Some bags are beaded in various patterns whereas some aren’t. Third is the fact that those interested can specifically order the bags for them to be absolutely customized!
How are they used?
Madagascar raffia bags can be used on both the formal and the informal fronts. They can be used daily as handbags because they are durable, as travel bags, beach bags on resorts such as the Almanara Diani Beach Resort, as shopping baskets on a shopping spree in Nairobi’s Central Business District and as baskets for plastic fruits and even flowers!
Madagascar raffia handbags are, more often than not, hand-woven by Maasai women seeking a steady income or just as a hobby. Regardless of their reasons, the end product is a true work of art because of its simplicity and of the fact that the materials used do not destroy the environment, rather they help to preserve it! The sisal is stripped from its mother plant, special threads are boiled and dyes are prepared to create a beauty that will outlive its makers in the caring hands of the fashion savvy. Don’t let this beauty escape you! Sokomaasai has variety to soil the most discerning fashionista.