Buenos Aires, Argentina | June 2011
Tired of the same blah work bag? Frustrated by the lack of originality in the handbag market? Underwhelmed by boring designs and timid, neutral colors? Colicoco was too, and decided do something about her handbag quandry. She headed south to Argentina, a country synonymous with chic taste and a growing reputation for being hotspot for leather shoes and accessories.
Long known for the tango, Buenos Aires, and Evita, Argentina is also garnering a solid reputation for its style. If leather was associated with any particular country, Argentina would certainly be on the short list. Humawaca leather is garnering great attention in Argentina and abroad for its bold leather accessories.
Humawaca is an Argentine company founded in 2002 by architect Sandra Rudelir, who was kind enough to catch up with Colicoco and her team. Named after Humahuaca, a UNESCO-declared Humanity Heritage site replete with "breathtaking landscapes" is located in northwestern Argentina. It is a region that has Hispanic-American roots, and has been populated for 10,000 years, since the settlement of the first hunter-gatherers. In the 15th centure, the area had a caravan road that served the trading needs of the Incan empire. In general, the area was an important link between the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata and the Viceroyalty of Peru. The company’s name is a modern variation of the original site -- Humawaca.
Combining Agentina's best leather with the world’s international trends resulting in attractive, Humawaca's playful modern designs emphasize both fashion and function. Describing her designs as "de-structured, innovative and timeless," Rudelir explains, "Our product lines reflect our desire to accessorize our customers identity creating practical accessories that are nevertheless elegant." As shown in the photos, the leather bandolier comes with a textile keyboard to operate an ipod, and the briefcase with a solar pannel that converts sunlight into electricity to charge cell phones, Ipods, MP3 and dogital cameras. Boasting vibrant colors and a variety of textures, Humawaca leather is also incredibly buttery soft to the touch.
An architect by training, Rudelir draws her inspiration from researching "new technologies and trying to adapt them to simple and pure lines for different functions." Sometimes she sticks to more traditional colors like black and brown, yet she gives other designs a "pop" with bright colors. How should women shopping around for the bag separate the wheat from the chaff? Rudelir advises not settling for less and looking for a handbag that is original, functional, of good quality, and that speaks "a contemporary language."
Always seeking opportunities in the international design market, Humawaca products have already been featured at the MOMA Museum store in New York City, Harrods of London and Le Bon Marche in Paris. Although it currently has two retail stores in Buenos Aires, a plan to franchise the brand in the United States is underway, so readers in North America should stay tuned for their own opportunity to buy some "cuero chevre," or hip leather!
For information about buying Humawaca products, visit the company's website at: http://www.humawaca.com/#home. The website offers both English and Spanish-language versions.