We recently had the great pleasure of catching up with one of our favorite designers, Jamie Lim from Kayu. Her line of clutches is a beautiful mix of colors and designs that is made from straw, wood and bamboo handcrafted by women’s cooperatives in South East Asia. All made using sustainable and renewable materials, each item is created using traditional techniques to preserve and support local indigenous skills and culture. With each purchase from Kayu, a percentage is donated towards educational and health initiatives.
We love how each clutch gives it a pop of color and finishes off any outfit. This is our travel must-have accessory as you can wear it as a cross-body bag during the day and clutch at night.
Let’s meet the beautiful Jamie Lim from Kayu to tell us more…
Tell us about Kayu. How was it created?
I have lived and traveled through Asia extensively, and while I was there I was saddened to learn that the traditional artisan crafts were slowly disappearing. Kayu was born out of my desire to preserve and promote these crafts as well as provide jobs for the artisans. We take traditional techniques and mesh it with modern design to create wearable pieces for today’s woman.
What is behind the name?
“Kayu” means wood in Malay. I grew up in Malaysia and wanted the name to reflect my heritage. We also incorporate natural materials like straw, wood and shell into all our collections so I thought the name was fitting.
Where did you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere, be it art, music or even the color of a tile. I’m greatly inspired by the artisans I’ve met on my travels who can turn things like weeds and discarded shells into beautiful and useful objects.
Our next collection is inspired by the artist Henri Rousseau and the lush forests he depicts in his paintings.
When was the moment that you knew the brand had made a name for itself?
I’m not sure that that moment has come yet! I’m so focused on the future that sometimes its hard to take a step back and appreciate how far the brand has come. With that said, some favorite moments include seeing our clutches on the London Fashion Week catwalk and, getting a call from the Whitehouse to design a clutch for them.
Any favorite celebs spotted carrying Kayu?
We were thrilled when Solange Knowles carried one of our purses to an Obama fundraiser. We love her unique style and use of color. Brooklyn Decker, Livia Firth (wife of Colin Firth) Megan Boone and AnnaSophia Rob have all carried our purses too. We love it when celebs carry Kayu but are equally thrilled when we spot somebody on the street sporting one of our designs.
Tell us some of your favorite style icons and why?
My favorite style icon has to be Amelia Earhart – style has so much to do with confidence and personality, and she is the embodiment of adventure and independence.
I also love the ease and simplicity Sofia Coppola, Jane Birken and Michelle Williams exude.
What is a typical day at the offices of Kayu?
Every day is different at our office. One day we are brainstorming ideas for our newest collection and selecting colors, the next we’re getting shipments ready to go out to stores. During the day we are usually liasing with our team in New York, in the evenings with our production in Asia. We also travel a lot to attend tradeshows, visit our showrooms and to get inspired.
Any dream collaborations?
We would love to do something with JCrew. We love how they combine comfort and style at an accessible price point.
Where can we find your fab clutches?
You can find our clutches all over the US and internationally including retailers like Nordstrom, Calypso St Barth and Holt Renfrew. Our collection is also available online at www.kayudesign.com
What can we see from you in the future?
We are working on some interesting fall fabrication, including using fish skin that has been discarded. Stay tuned!
What are you must-have beauty products?
I am in love with my Aedes de Venustas candles. Does that count as a beauty product?
What are some accessories you just can’t live without?
I love my Kayu Capri clutch. It works equally as well for day or night and adds a pop of color to any outfit. I seldom leave home without my Bulgari Anish Kapoor ring (gifted by husband) and my Moleskine notebook.
Thank you to Jamie from Kayu for this one-on-one interview! Be sure to check out her designs at kayudesign.com
Kayu has graciously offered a giveaway for you to win this gorgeous Bali Clutch (Value of $185).
1. FOLLOW: You must follow us on instagram @islandfeversisters and @kayudesign
2. REGRAM: You must regram the photo above on your instagram page and tag us @islandfeversisters and @kayudesign
3. HASHTAG: #KayuFever
*Giveaway open to the US only; must have a public IG profile to enter. Good luck! Winner announced March 14, 2014.