Creating FW18: Our Process

Our latest collection welcomes 24 new bags in a fresh autumn palette. Each bag is handmade with care and attention to every detail, resulting in a high quality, wearable work of art that you will treasure for years to come. Here's a peek behind the process! 

Each seasonal line we produce is an opportunity to infuse innovation and fresh ideas into traditional designs and techniques. This is executed through a truly collaborative process, headed by our Product Design Director in Oaxaca, Samantha Wattson, and involving our artisan partners, as well as US-based staff.

The FW18 color palette was inspired by the beautiful cross-section of agate stones, with their vibrant natural tones reminiscent of water over river rocks. This fresh take on fall colors is defined by navy, dusty blue, rust red and crimson, and complemented with accents in chocolate, sand and pearl tones.

Once a color palette for the new season has been selected, the artisans get together to dye a small batch of yarn in order to test the colors and create samples. 

For FW18, we took some of our best-selling designs and reinterpreted them in this colorway. The result is a collection of bags that feel strikingly new yet echoes of the familiar, with the classic Zapotec motifs as prominent as ever.

After the first set of samples have been woven, the entire team chimes in on which weavings work the best, which don't, and what changes could be made to improve them. This is a lengthy process that ensures that everyone feels heard and understands why the changes are being proposed (based on current trends and other factors). This is vital and important to the morale and creative independence of each artist.

"Working through designs and color combinations with the weavers is always my favorite part. Feedback and critique used to be something that I would primarily dictate, but now all the weavers participate in this part of the process. When something works really well, everyone is genuinely excited for the team. It’s not just about individual success." 

- Sam, Product Design Director

When the second or third run of samples are finalized, the woven pieces are sewn into the bag model that will best show off the design. The models are finished with a chocolate brown genuine leather, that perfectly suits the warm earthy palette of the wool. The lining of each bag and attaching of any hardware is the last step, most often completely by the very same artisan who designed it. The fact that the artisan designer has a hand in the entire process ensures a final product that is made with the utmost pride, care, and attention to detail.  

Once the collection has been completed, we wanted to explore how a line of bags handmade in a village in Southern Mexico fit in to an urban environment and modern lifestyle. We went on a weekend getaway to Portland, Oregon, and stayed at the Society Hotel in the city's iconic Chinatown, taking the 24 new bags with us on the journey. We loved how the autumn colors and mix of models enhanced every look and activity during our stay.

The FW18 Collection has already been received so well that we expect it to be our most popular collection yet! See for yourself ... 

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