Our bags are made to last years, even decades, if not a life time.
We use one piece of full-grain cow leather or sheep leather (i.e. one hide) for each bag, ensuring fewer seams and improved durability. Every hide is unique and has tonal variations. Small marks or scars are natural features and should not be considered faults. We believe they are the living embodiment of the Wabi Sabi aesthetic philosophy (i.e. ‘the art of the imperfect”), which we cherish.
The leather we use is a by-product of the food industry. It is locally sourced and comes from the finest family-run tanneries in East Java, Indonesia. We partner with like-minded individuals and workshops in Java to ensure the quality and transparency of the tanning process and minimize its environmental and societal impact, namely through the waste management procedures.
We use vegetable tanned leather, which we believe to be the most noble of all leather hides, as it retains the natural characteristics of the original hide. Tannins used to tan our vegetable-tanned bags are found in the local tree barks and leaves. The tanning process involves stretching the selected hides on frames and immersing them in barrels of increasing concentrations of natural tannins, until the leather becomes flexible and waterproof. As a final step the leather is tumbled with oils and dye.
Minimally processed and finished, the leather we use in our bags remains highly receptive and in constant dialogue with the context surrounding it. As the bag ages, so does the leather, darkening and developing a unique patina. With time, each bag’s particular signs and scars will be a collection of souvenirs, which we believe will make it grow closer to its owner’s journey.
This magnificent cloth is original from the village of Karang, in Nusa Penida, a small island next to Bali. Hand-made on upright hand looms, it has striking geometrical patterns.
Traditionally, weaving was done at household scale by the women of the village. Today, since the revival of the technique and fabric, both of which were at the verge of extinction (revival has been possible thanks to the work of organisations such as Threads of Life) the making process of Rang-Rang has become the main job for several women, complementing their livelihood earned as farmers and seaweed growers.
The main materials used in the manufacture of Rang-Rang are cotton yarns and dyes. Beautiful soft tones as well as more vibrant colours are produced using only natural dyes. Blue is made from indigo which is grown and harvested locally. Red, yellow, brown, green and black are produced using different roots, fruits and leaves, which are also found locally, including leaves of teak, indigo or turmeric and the tree bark of cashew, mango, jamblang. They are often mixed together for varying colour tones
The process is as follows: the roots, fruits and/or leaves are first soaked in the water, mixed with lime powder, which reacts to them. The mix is then left to ferment for weeks to ensure the durability of the colour. The cotton yarns are then soaked in the dye mix and beaten with a wooden mallet to send the colour right to the centre., They are then dried, and the process is repeated numerous times, depending on the desired colour and intensity.
This use of dyes from natural materials is in accordance with the philosophy for life called Tri Hita Karana, which literally translates for “three causes of well-being” or “three reasons for prosperity” and is typical from the island of Bali. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri_Hita_Karana)
We at Kmana source it directly from the women cooperatives of the village of Karang, with the assistance of the Balinese owner of a traditional batik and fabric store in Bali (Ibu Ayun) who has been helping us out since the beginning and who regularly travels to Nusa Penida on our behalf.