As a fourth-generation hand-knitter, Alejandra Alonso Rojas was born with a knack for crafting beautiful handmade garments. Her eponymous label, which she launched back in 2016, hones in on the use of both traditional and experimental knitting techniques, bringing one-of-a-kind ready-to-wear to life. Now, the 2019 finalist in the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund is expanding her brand into other categories. You heard it here first: Alejandra Alonso Rojas' handbags are launching Dec. 13, and you'll probably be itching to get your hands on every exciting colorway.
It wasn't Rojas' intention to add accessories to her offerings just yet. "The idea emerged as a sustainable approach to reduce waste," the designer tells TZR. She found herself with leftover leather and suede after every season and wanted to put it to good use. "I thought about lots of ideas, including intricate leather patchwork pieces for my Fall/Winter 2018 collection, but that wasn't enough and it was too complicated to account for an ongoing development of them," she explains. While Rojas was considering different uses for the leftover leather, an answer came out of her own necessity. As a frequent traveler, she explains that she struggled to find a way to pack her handbags along with her without damaging them. From this lightbulb idea, Rojas prototyped a flat tote and a pouch that could be held alone or moved from bag to bag for convenience.
"Sustainability has become a crucial aspect for my brand practices and its core philosophy," Rojas says. "We ethically source our materials. Our development process is inherently slow. Knitwear is a zero-waste design method and currently one-third of our collection is made of hand-knit garments. As an effort to continually add sustainable elements to the brands’ ethos, our collections feature natural dyed fabrics and my new goal is to use all the materials remaining in our shelves from previous collections to be repurposed instead of being wasted. This is the thinking behind my new Totes and Pouches."
When coming up for the silhouette of the tote, which retails for $295, Rojas chose dimensions that minimize any leftover scraps. "I wanted to reduce the waste of the material to almost zero," she says. "For example, on the tote, one handle is shorter than the other one allowing me to create the pattern for the pouch on the remaining piece of leather." The designer adds that the construction also happens to make the bag drape beautifully — a win win.
When it comes to Rojas' ready-to-wear label, bold colors are a core element of her designs, and her reputation as a "colorist" is one that she takes pride in. "I adore creating new shades and colors for my collections each season," she says. And fittingly, every color she hand picks for the leather and suede is developed in-house. "It was so exciting to get into our color archive and make different combinations with my team." For her first collection of bags, both the totes and clutches are available in a wide range from a natural cream to bright mint and hot pink.
Be one of the first to sport Alejandra Alonso Rojas' debut handbags, which you can shop for below.
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