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Maria's Bag, from Guatemala with Love

Guatemala is the land of volcanoes (7 of its 22 are active), rainforests (Maya Biosphere Reserve) and the Maya people (their history is all around them). All three are thriving. Inspired by her country's rich culture and heritage, designer Alida Boer incorporates the sights and traditions into her very colorful line of artisan craft bags, Maria’s Bag. Each bag incorporates the best of Guatemala's artisan talent, weaving and embroidering. “I saw the opportunity to showcase my Guatemalan roots through fashion. Guatemala has the biggest heritage in textiles in Latin America, so I really wanted to show people the beauty and uniqueness of the huipil texture,” explains Boer, a former Miss Guatemala.

Handmade by local women, each bag is uniquely different. Every bag is largely the diary of the woman who is making the bag and what she was going through at the time. The intricately fine embroidery tells a story through the shapes of flowers, landscapes and animals and is also a depiction of the Mayan people's strong respect for nature.

Boer chose the name Maria’s Bag as Maria is the most common name in Latin America. “I wanted a name that would represent unity for all women and I think Maria best represents all Latin American women,” says Boer. In fusing high-end fashion and traditional textile, Boer has given local women artisans confidence and pride in their heritage. “The women feel important not only as artists but they also feel good that they are helping the family and can provide a better life for their kids,” explains Boer.

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