What if you could display your distinctive style with a piece of history? That’s where The Luxe Project comes in. Designed in Australia, but made in Thailand, The Luxe Project’s main focus is to craft intricate one-of-a-kind bags that incorporate the vintage hand embroidered textiles of Southeast Asia’s hill tribes.
With a degree in Psychology and Media Communications, co-founder Sharidan Bowman, dabbled in the beauty department as a makeup artist for a couple of years before realizing her true calling.
“In 2013, I was working as a marketing coordinator for a boutique kitchen and bathroom renovation company. Mum knew I found my work un-fulfilling and approached me about starting a business with her,” shared Sharidan about the beginnings of the company.
As the senior fashion buyer for Kmart and David Jones for years, Chutisa Bowman knew that a business in the fashion industry was the best choice for both her and Sharidan. What is often a forgotten artwork, these unique bags are a great way to showcase the incomparable textiles to the world. “Bags are such a great, functional way to enjoy these textiles, and it gets them out there for the world to admire,” said Sharidan.
After the pieces have been sketched, both employ the skills of a select few artisans engaged in the cottage industry in Chiang Mai to manufacture their designs. The only pieces that are not made by the artisans are the cushions, which Sharidan makes herself in Australia.
In today’s fashion industry there is a large amount of waste being produced. For The Luxe Project, re-purposing existing textiles is one goal of their “eco/ethical manifesto.” The second goal focuses greatly on the individuals behind their creations.
“We seek to operate significantly above the minimum standards so that our producers can enjoy a fair living wage and be recognized for the amazing work they do,” Sharidan on the company’s artisans.
Not only do they make these great bags that can add funk to anyone’s style, but they also create multi-purpose key chains in addition to colorful Buddhas for the home and jean jackets to wear.
In the coming year, both Chutisa and Sharidan plan on traveling to Thailand to begin the process of reaching out to a number of charities within the country to build relationships with them. With that, a percentage of their proceeds will go to supporting the education and growth of hill tribes as well as underprivileged women and children.
“We view our success in two different ways–sales and recognition. On the other side of the coin, we measure our success on the impact we have in the lives of our artisans and producers and the positive influence we can have in the rural villages across Northern Thailand,” Sharidan shared.
Find The Luxe Project’s pieces in pop up stores across Australia, London and the Netherlands.
Purchase their items at theluxeproject.com, they offer worldwide shipping.
By Kristina Coronel