Summer accessories: dream weavers
Each bag is handmade by Wayuu indigenous women in Venezuala. Proceeds from sales go to support the center at Shukumajaya, where women are educated about parenting and nutrition, family planning and hygiene.
Each one-of-a-kind bag is made with materials that have been used for hundreds of years. It takes a Wayuu woman eight hours a week for 20 days to make each bag.
Katy Perry wore this fabulous pink version at Coachella. J. Crew has picked up on the stylish bags too, placing them in the June catalog and online.
Patricia Velásquez, a former model, founded the Wayuu Taya Foundation eight years ago to help indigenous people in her native country.
"We have built school rooms for the kids and helped the women become self-sufficient by producing and selling their unique bags," she wrote in an e-mail. "I am so happy that these bags have become a fashion item."
This year she will be expanding her efforts into Haiti by raising funds to build a school in a village devastated by the earthquake.
Wayuu Taya bags are $120 at www.wayuutaya.net.
Photo: Katy Perry at the Coachella music festival. Credit: Photo Agency.