The Label: Buy Her Bag Not Her Body
Based In: Cambodia
Designed By: Nomi Network bags are designed by Supei Liu (a former corporate retailer) and produced by a collective of women who are survivors of sexual slavery and trafficking in Cambodia (the name Nomi is a phonetic interpretation meaning "know me, know my story, know my success"). "About three years ago, my friends and I teamed up to start Nomi Network together," the New York-based Liu told The Fashion Informer. "We believe that in order to prevent human trafficking and help the survivors get reintegrated back into their communities, a sustainable social model needs to be in place to create jobs. Since I've worked with products for the last 12 years, the Nomi Network business model fell naturally in place with my previous experience." One hundred percent of the profit from the sale of Nomi Network bags is reinvested into training and career development programs for women.
Looks Like: Cute totes, wallets, toiletry bags, cosmetic cases, iPad and laptop covers fashioned from locally-sourced recycled rice bags that are quilted and finished with decorative stitching and reclaimed lace. In addition to the grown-up styles, there's also an adorable—and very clever—children's backpack designed by Sitting Taller that holds kids' schoolbooks and other daily necessities, and comes with a Dacron-wrapped foam pad, allowing it to function as a booster seat when not in use as a carryall. "The beauty of our collection is a unique mix of the Nomi Network story and the collaboration between our volunteer design team here in the USA and the women producing them in Cambodia," says Liu. "The process of turning an old discarded rice bag into something pretty and functional again is almost like the process of watching how these women turn their lives around from victims to survivors." Nomi Network is launching a similar project in India later this year.
Sold At: The bags range from $12 to $78 and can be purchased online at Buy Her Bag Not Her Body. All proceeds go to training and career development programs for the survivors of sexual trafficking in Cambodia.