1. What was your inspiration for designing the Selam Tote?
I was wanting to add a slimmer silhouette to the collection while keeping some of our core design principles in mind: versatile, practical, and classic. From there, I had the idea to do a magazine style tote with sleek, minimal lines and structure. I wanted the shape of the bag to have a distinctive look that was different from some of our other designs.
2. What makes it different than previous ABLE totes?
The biggest difference is the exterior pockets on the front side of the bag. They’re a lifesaver for me to keep things organized instead of digging around at the bottom of my bag to find my phone, keys, sunglasses, or chapstick that always go missing! Another difference is that it’s slimmer than some of our other totes, which make me think more intentionally about what I’m carrying all day instead of lugging around things that are unnecessary. Having fewer things to dig through makes me feel more peaceful and calm despite a busy day!
3. Where is the Selam Tote being made? What is your relationship/interaction with the women in that country throughout the design and production process?
The Selam Tote is being made in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. One of my favorite things about the design and development process is getting our partner’s feedback on ways we can capture the design. This design in particular required new construction techniques for our partner, and we learned together to achieve the design. In the end, it’s very rewarding to see both sets of ideas come together to create a beautiful product.