The Luxe Project; Repurposed Hilltribe Fabric Accessories

Friday, October 18, 2013

Traditional hill tribe fabrics re-purposed into in fashion garments have been growing in popularity in recent years.  Perhaps it is the attraction of the intricate abstract patterns and stunning colours which brings forth a touch of worldliness and mystery of far away places that we'd all like to explore.

:: Textiles Image c/o The Luxe Project ::

One such company which re-purposes hill tribe fabric into gorgeous accessories, is The Luxe Project.
Founded by mother and daughter duo, Chutisa and Sharidan Bowman, The Luxe Project uses hand embroidered fabrics from the hill tribes of South East Asia, to make beautiful bags with a bohemian touch.  Bags are designed in Melbourne, and ethically handmade in Chaing Mai, Thailand.

Admiring the beautiful work of The Luxe Project, I've asked Sharidan to share some of the inspiration and history of the brand with Recycled Fashion readers:

:: Chutisa and Sharidan Bowman, The Luxe Project ::

How long has The Luxe Project been in operation?
My mother (Chutisa Bowman) and I created The Luxe Project in March 2013.

What inspired you to start your business?
Mum is originally from Thailand and I am half Thai (my dad is Australian) so we’ve always been aware of and admired these hill tribe artisans. We have always loved these textiles and thought it was about time the whole world had the opportunity to love them too. We both have a professional background in the fashion and beauty industry so have always been immersed in the style world. As well as wanting to share and repurpose these fabrics with a fashion twist we also feel it is very important and our duty to support these hill tribe women and showcase their work to the world.

Can you tell us a little about the materials sourced to make The Luxe Project products?
Most of the textiles we use are vintage and were created over 20 years ago. They originate predominately from Thailand, Vietnam and China – mainly from the Hmong, Karen and Miao hill tribes.

:: Hilltribe Textiles ::

All the fabrics we use were originally ceremonial garments made and worn by these hill tribe women and they have a history all of their own. All fabrics have been hand embroidered/loomed and the love and care that has gone in to them is evident in the painstaking detail of every stitch. One hand embroidered hill tribe skirt can take up to a year to complete. Our bags are created with a combination of A grade leather and hill tribe skirts/shirts/baby carriers.

Do you travel to Thailand often to monitor the work of your products?
Now that The Luxe Project is up and running we liaise frequently with our Chiang Mai contact and visit three to four times a year to select fabrics, design bags and quality check previous orders. We work very closely with the individuals we have entrusted to help us create The Luxe Project. We feel it is of paramount importance to not only be responsible for the creative design of each bag but be fully involved in the construction of our bags and the welfare of the individuals who make them.

Do you have any future plans for The Luxe Project, any new designs or products that will be launched in the future?
We are constantly working on new designs and sourcing new fabrics. In fact we have a range of nappy bags coming out at the end of this week – so many nappy bags are functionally adequate but aesthetically disappointing, the nappy bags we have created still offer the functional benefits of a typical nappy bag (water proof lining, multiple compartments etc) but are also pleasing to the eye and can still be used past their original purpose. The nappy bag is called the “Tee Ruck” which means ‘beloved’ in Thai.

:: Sneak Peak at the Tee Ruck Nappy Bag ::

We also have a number of textile swatches which we have chosen not to turn in to bags and will be framed or converted in to wall hangings in the near future. Some of these fabrics deserve to be displayed and admired completely untouched!
Good luck with your business Sharidan and Chutisa, your hill tribe textile bags and accessories are truly beautiful.

If you'd like to check out The Luxe Project's full product range, you can do so here, and follow on facebook here.



Jean C. said...

Great post! My parents went on a 2 year mission for our Church to Thailand, sending/bringing home wonderful Thai silks, fabrics etc... the craftsmanship of the people there is amazing! It's been years since
they came back and I've had a hard time cutting into the fabric's they are so beautiful!

Something Else said...

Oh - these are beautiful. I had some beautiful pieces that I picked up in Thailand and China etc., but they have been passed on as I moved around the world. I still have a skirt that I got in Lijiang in Yunnan, China for about $18 - I didn't even bother to bargain at that price! My point being - as an eternal cynic when it comes to business relations between the West and developing countries (having lived and done business in China for almost 8 years) - is that I would like to know more about the "welfare of the individuals" who make them and the big gap between me paying $18 for a skirt full of beautiful material to the price of a yoga bag at $265.

Unknown said...

Beautiful..I really loved it.Those bags are very attractive and wonderful.

jenny_o said...

What gorgeous fabrics and colours!

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