About Us

At A Bag with a Story, we combine our passion for beauty with socially conscious fashion.

Our Casual Collection creates eco-ethical fashion and home accessories out of upcycled scrap cloth, organic materials and indigenous fabrics by working with artisans living in the poor communities. The philosophy behind this collection stands upon four bottom lines: People, Profit, Planet and Positive Influence.

Our Glamour Collection takes inspiration from seaside elements such as seashells, sand and sea life. The collection is highlighted by playful elements but keeping it glamorous and chic in its finishing. The entire collection uses a mix of hand-sculpted wood, gold plated brass, coconut shell beads and straw.

Below, you can find some background information about the traditional products and materials referred to in the product descriptions. You will find that our bags are not only hand-made and exclusive, they come with their very own story. Know that your bag has been crafted with pride by a number of artisans. Know that by buying our products, you empower their day to day lives.

With love,
A Bag with a Story

T'nalak is a traditional cloth found in Mindanao island made by a group of people in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato called T'bolis, Tboli people. This traditional cloth is hand-woven made of Abaca fibers which traditionally has three primary colors, red, black and the original color of the Abaca leaves. The colorant of the materials are naturally dyed boiled in with bark, roots and leaves of plants. It is an heritage and believed that the intricate and creative patterns of the Tinalak was seen on their dreams and made it on to work. They can't create a design of the Tinalak if they haven't dreamed of it. They are sometimes called the "Dream Weavers".

The T’nalak fabric holds a special and prominent place in [T’boli] culture. It is ever present in significant turning points in a [Tboli] life, such as birth, marriage, and death. It is the medium which sanctifies these rites, enveloping them in the length of its fabric like a benediction. It has also often been referred to as “woven dreams”. It is exactly that, and more. In a culture which didn’t have a form of writing, the T’nalak served as both Literature and Art. The [T’bolis] expressed everything they are in the T’nalak: their dreams, beliefs, myths and even their religion. Making use of the various geometrical patterns and the trademark red, black and white colors, the [T’bolis] weave the natural and the supernatural in the abaca strands of the T’nalak. Furthermore, the weaving process integrates the personal, the social and the cultural. After a weaver reaches a certain degree of expertise, she becomes a “master weaver” – someone who can interpret and take inspiration from dreams, hence the term “dreamweavers”. By all accounts, this seems to be an intense personal experience for the weaver, and the moment she succeeds in doing this is the moment she becomes an artist. And then it is also social because the T’nalak binds together all that the [T’boli]people believe in. The skill of the weaver gathers in the T’nalak all the elements that make the [T’boli] social life. Finally, it is cultural in that it is the means through which other tribes identify the [T’bolis] since the T’nalak is uniquely and distinctly [T’boli]. from Gida Ofong (T'boli tribeswoman and dreamweaver) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T'nalak

Abacá (also Abacca) (/ɑːbəˈkɑː/ ah-bə-KAH; from Spanish: abacá [aβaˈka]), binomial name Musa textilis, is a species of banana native to the Philippines, grown as a commercial crop in the Philippines, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. The plant is of great economic importance, being harvested for its fiber, once generally called Manila hemp, extracted from the trunk or pseudostem. On average, the plant grows about 12 feet (4 meters) tall. The fiber was originally used for making twines and ropes; now most abacá is pulped and used in a variety of specialized paper products including tea bags, filter paper and banknotes. It is classified as a hard fiber, along with coir, henequin and sisal. http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abaca

Kamagong Wood, Mabolo (both in Philippines), Butter fruit (Singapore) or Velvet Apple (scientific name: Diospyros blancoi) is a plant of the genus of ebony trees and persimmons, Diospyros. Its edible fruit has a skin covered in a fine, velvety fur which is usually reddish-brown, and soft, creamy, pink flesh, with a taste and aroma comparable to fruit cream cheese (the aroma of the fruit itself, however, is unpleasant, comparable to rotten cheese or cat feces; inspiring names like the French "Caca de Chat" in Reunion). It is native to the Philippines, where kamagong usually refers to the entire tree, and mabolo is applied to the fruit. It is also found in the Micronesian Islands of Palau, known as matib (Palauan). Velvet apple trees rarely found in Sri Lanka too.

Kamagong Timber Kamagong timber is extremely dense and hard and is famous for its dark color. Like many other very hard woods, it is sometimes called "iron wood" so called because its wood is iron-like and nearly unbreakable.
Finished products from kamagong wood, such as fine furniture and decoratives can be exported provided that they are properly documented and approved by the Customs authorities. Kamagong is also popular for martial arts training implements such as bokkens and eskrima sticks.