I love high street fashion as much as the next girl, but honestly, it does frustrate me sometimes. Fast fashion might provide us with a fast fix, but in the long term the pieces don’t tend to last. I also question the ethics behind many of the large high street brands that sell their homogeneous collections in every country. Both the items I have featured in this post are beautiful examples of handmade craftsmanship using century old techniques and both will be holiday staples for years to come. I’m absolutely delighted to have come across Toino Abel and Air & Grace and I hope you’ll check them out and support them too.
Toino Abel Bags
My very first blog post was about Portugal. I’m obsessed with the place – the Lusitano horses, the Vinho Verde wine, the sandy beaches, the Bacalhau . And now thanks to Portugese craftsmanship I’m obsessed with this bag too… hand made in the Leiria district, Toino Abel is a family company with a history of artisan basket making.
Theres an absolutely wonderful section on their website featuring the craftspeople who make each bag – Nuno Henriques is the founder (whose grandfather was famed for his reed bags), Cidália de Matos Ricardo is the Weaver Master, Fernando Sousa the Willow Artisan and Sara Miller the Craft Designer. I absolutely love the idea that my bag has been handmade by this talented team and has travelled across Europe to become my new companion.
Its beautifully made and absolutely perfect to take on holiday. An ideal size, I can fit in my camera and a notebook for day at the beach.
Small Flor IV bag by Toino Abel €89 plus shipping. The bags also come in Medium and Large.
Air & Grace Espadrilles
Moving on to the shoes also featured in my pictures… I know that Spain is famed for its leather craftsmanship. Many of the best bespoke riding boots are handmade in Spain, along with saddles and bridles. So I wasn’t surprised when I recently met Claire from UK brand Air & Grace, and she told me she’d just returned from a trip to Spain where she’d been overseeing the production of a new range of espadrilles.
Air & Grace are known for comfortable shoes – they have a patented memory foam cushioning that I loved the sound of. This however is no good unless the shoes also look amazing, which luckily these gorgeous espadrilles do! These ones are called Shimmie, in a nude leather with decorative pom poms and tassels. I’ve worn them all day today and they really are incredibly comfortable – they’re without doubt my shoe of the summer.
Shimmie espadrille by Air & Grace £99