STELAR’s journey began in 2017, as a mission to reimagine the relationships between craftsmanship and culture, community and planet. We are driven by a passion to protect and sustain Balinese weaving culture. Consciously woven into each STELAR item, this heritage and wisdom inspires and guides everything we do.
During a trip to Indonesia in 2016, our founder Lorna met a family of artisans in East Bali who shared their story about the threatened future of their traditional weaving skills. The inadequately low prices being paid for handmade goods was devaluing the heritage, relevance and artistry of this indigenous culture. Indeed, this one family’s experience spoke to that of many artisan communities across Bali, each with their own respective skills and techniques in decline. By working directly within these communities, we provide artisans with sustainable opportunities to stay in their communities rather than taking up work elsewhere, for example in hospitality and tourism.
This means that from the outset, we have placed our artisans, their communities and their traditional craftsmanship at the heart of our venture.
This call for greater transparency has been gaining momentum since the tragic collapse of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza garment factory in 2013, and the Fashion Revolution movement that grew out of its aftermath. This has undoubtedly mobilised the slow fashion sentiment and it is encouraging to see that people are adopting a more conscious approach to fashion. However, we are driven by our belief that there is more to be done.
Bali is a living, breathing example of how craftsmanship is embedded in community and of the connection the Balinese nurture with their natural environment. Hand weaving has long been an intrinsic part of Balinese life, in the creation of both functional objects and ceremonial items.
Every Balinese knows how to weave on some level or another, whether it be the robust natural grass roofs they live under, the soft woven mats they sleep on, or the intricate prayer baskets they use for ceremonies, each of which demonstrate the wealth of artistry and heritage that is rooted in Balinese culture.
Coupled with the island’s flourishing biodiversity and wide range of abundant natural materials, weaving is a sustainable heritage art form that we strive to elevate and revive.
Indeed, the Balinese see weaving as a metaphor for life. The vertical warp threads represent fundamental anchors like truth, peace, harmony, and community. And the horizontal weft symbolizes the way we live and share our innermost values and beliefs. Harnessing this ancient wisdom while bringing contemporary relevance to these skills means that each skilfully handcrafted STELAR item is imbued with this unique energy, history and meaning.
By co-creating within these communities, we are able to re-imagine traditional skills with a collective and contemporary vision…
At STELAR, we are inspired by the connection our artisans share with their land, community and history. Our sustainable handbags are a product of our direct collaboration with these communities, which draws on this intelligence of local ecosystems and the cycles of nature.
Our vegan handbags are made from organic atta grass and bamboo that is grown on the land of our artisans and harvested by them and their families.
This is why we believe that there is so much to cherish in the power of the unique code that comes with each STELAR bag, which connects you to the origins of your item, the artisan who made it and the narratives behind its creation.
Every handwoven piece has a rich and profound story to tell about generations of indigenous skills, a regenerative approach to our environment and the work we are doing to sustain artisan communities for the future. We love learning from them, about their families, the skills they have inherited, the land they cultivate around them, their food, culture and community that they live within.
STELAR is driven by a desire to redress the imbalance within the fashion industry, bringing value and appreciation to the people and skills behind what we create and providing a foundation that sustains these for generations to come.
These artisans are custodians, protecting their skills for future generations. The future of fashion lies, quite literally in their hands…