Creating the Samer Bag: Good for People and Planet
As of last week, the TKS website features our beautiful, colourful new Samer bags, just in time to brighten up the summer of 2020! Behind the scenes, however, these bags have been a long time in the making, going all the way back to the early spring of 2019.
Collaboration with Tekaya
TKS launched its first capsule collection of upcycled handbags two years ago as part of our continuing push to bolster not only vulnerable people, but also our planet. Upcycling is a great way to create pieces that are beautiful and practical, but also salvage some of the many high-quality fabrics that are being sent to the landfill each year – and many people clearly agree with us, because the handbags sold out before we knew it. When I traveled to Beirut in early 2019, one of my key missions was therefore the development of a brand new upcycled product.
I was extremely lucky that a mutual acquaintance introduced me almost immediately to Tekaya Design, an amazing Beirut-based business run by cousins Pamela and Karim; they save countless swatches of premium fabric from retailers throughout Beirut each year and use them to create new items, including gorgeous pillowcases. In the course of the next two months, we worked together tirelessly to develop the first prototypes of what became the Samer Bag. We knew early on that we wanted to create something that neither of us had done before, and struck on the idea to create a convertible bag that is decorated with an embroidered emblem that expresses the environmental message behind the upcycled fabrics. We spent countless hours in the Tekaya fabric warehouse selecting fabrics, brainstorming with TKS master artisan Malak about the embroidered emblems, and with tailor Samer about the construction of the bag. All this hard work more than paid off with the birth of the Samer Bag, which can seamlessly transform from backpack to tote bag and is adorned with embroidery of a turtle, owl or bee – all animals whose habitats are imperiled by environmental degradation.
Naming the Samer Bag
It has become a bit of a TKS tradition to name products after the artisan who played a big role in its creation, for example by coming up with the design or by embroidering the very first one of its kind (such as the Samira bags and Aabir purses). In this case, it was very clear that we could never have created this bag without the excellent technical skills of our tailor, Samer. Not only does he create a bag that is sturdy and beautiful, but especially the convertible straps took a lot of his creative thinking, detail-orientedness and skill to achieve. We are therefore very happy to name this bag after him, as another testament to the creativity and resilience of Syrian refugee artisans in Lebanon. We hope that you will love and treasure the Samer bag as much as we do!
We could never have created this bag without our tailor, Samer, and are therefore very happy to name this bag after him