At STELAR, we design with three distinct and durable materials to make our gorgeous handbags and accessories; bamboo, atta grass and leather. While bamboo and atta grass are natural plant fibres that are indigenous to Indonesia, and grown organically on the land of our artisans, the journey of the leather we work with is, by its very nature, more complex. Which is why we want to share more about it; we believe that knowing where our materials come from, who made them, how, and when, should be a standard, rather than a luxury.
With Bali as the base for our production, we source our leather from a tannery on the neighbouring island of Java, that is a silver-rated member of the Leather Working Group, and committed to organic farming and the ethical treatment of animals - working only with leather that's a by-product of the meat industry and not produced for its own purpose.
In addition, this supplier only use low-level chemical tanning and low water management techniques throughout the tanning process, to ensure a minimal environmental impact. And we also ensure that they advocate for sustainable farming practices that reduce deforestation and utilise eco-friendly waste disposal systems.
Once the leather has been prepared, it is brought to Bali, where it's hand cut by highly experienced craftsmen into our signature strips. These strips are then handwoven on customised, locally crafted wooden frames, using the intricate and highly skilled techniques of bedek or star weaving.
Both styles are traditional Balinese techniques that have been used for centuries on the island - historically to create utilitarian objects, such as floor mats or prayer baskets. Star weaving is particularly intricate, as it requires six layers of hand cut leather strips which intersect at 60-degree angles.
The premium hides we hand select reflect the natural state of leather because they are created according to traditional principles. As a result, our leather is incredibly soft and tactile and retains the subtle characteristics such as creases, imperfections, variations or irregularities in colour and weave are natural features that make them even more unique - and something we particularly love.
Working with vegan leather alternatives has been a careful consideration for us. However, we have chosen not to, as they are currently coated with micro plastics which makes them non-biodegradable, and the impact we make on our environment is an equally important consideration for us. In the meantime, we continue to research natural vegetable leather alternatives, and will make this shift in materials once we are completely confident they adhere to our sustainability and environmental values.