The FRIHET Bag - Carrying a Message of Freedom. December 23, 2016 08:58
It carries something. Yes, it'll probably be your phone, maybe your new MAC lipstick. (i know it carries a few of mine.) Maybe some emergency kiddie snacks, your keys, but there's also something else in there... a feeling or a mood. I think if i was to put a word to this feeling, it might be freedom.... or 'FRIHET,' the nordic term for freedom, liberty & independence.
I am so happy to finally be adding a new 'Bag' collection to Lines & Current Shop. The vision for a bag started last spring 2015. Now (Boxing Day) December 2016, three suppliers later, after many samples and head scratches, it is here. The first hands-free, 100% organic cotton FRIHET bag, custom designed with 'everyday functionality' in mind.
There are so many issues to consider working with an 'outside' manufacturer on your 'own' designs and sometimes things go smoothly and sometimes they get complicated. But after a year and a half of trying to stay patient (& having my husband remind me every other week that it's okay if it's not "easy,") finally i found a company that resonates with the Lines & Current ethos & the outward-focused culture that you customers have been helping me create around the brand.
The manufacturer I finally found is a fair-trade sewing centre in Kolkata, India offering alternative employment to many women in the sex trade there.
As i have been developing relationship with this indian centre, my twin Ruth & her husband in New Portals, were (by coincidence) asked to write/ submit songs to a feature film called 'She Has a Name' highlighting the plight of human-traffiking and the unimaginable circumstances experienced by so many females, children, some male, as a result of the sex trade today. I was invited to the premier of the movie along with my sister in Belfast a few weeks ago and i can't tell you how 'real' the issue is. The movie was cinematically beautiful, but oh my, hard to watch. I also learned that if i was to hypothetically travel with my daughters in countries where the sex-trade is so rife, and one of us were snatched, (a very real threat for white tourists, ) if after 12 hours we were not found, we would become almost impossible to trace because the networks and criminal activity around this trade is are so tight and nimble. Such a wake up call and that overwhelmed/ panicked state of 'what can i do to help,' i was so happy that the black bag i was releasing into the Lines & Current shop was in a very small way helping a community of women in need of freedom in Kolkata.
I was apparently the first company to be granted permission for requesting photos of the women sewing and screen-printing the individually handmade bags. So i feel privileged to be able to show you these photographic insights. They're so powerful aren't they? It's like every bag has a name behind it.
The design details of the FRIHET bag hit all the L&C brand criteria: Minimal, Thoughtful & Everyday Functionality. Firstly, they each showcase a new minimalistic font that again, even though it looks so darn basic, it took a lot of finessing over the summer hols. Second, the custom details makes this a perfect 'go to' for everyday. So much more than a tote, they are organically dyed in cotton canvas with an inside zip pocket that totally fits your phone AND your various lippy shades ladies. There's a magnetic button right below a squared-edge handle and an adjustable strap (which gives it an even more uni-sex feel) but 'oh so essential' for us mums who like to have our handsfree for our kiddies on the go. Plus the bag is a bit of a bucket, at 41 by 41cm, I've been loving throwing my 'essentials' (and more) in there and keeping them there erryday. The bag also features a custom woven L&C tag, the same motif on the bamboo temple of the sunglasses, the headwear and all the end buttons on all the jewellery designs. Can we talk about how ya can throw it in the wash too? Plus, above all, the women making this bag are offered fair salaries by this fairtrade certified centre
I've been so happy with how sturdy my samples have been and i'm overall, just so darn proud of the bags. I hope, in some way, they are symbols of freedom as we join in with this stand against exploitation and raise awareness of the horrible trappings of human sex slavery. Imagine if in our lifetime, there really was freedom.
SHOP the FRIHET bag HERE.