5 Summer-Ready Shoes and Bags to Have on Your Radar￼
Words by The Folklore Team
The start of a new season offers a clean slate for a number of things, from keeping fit to getting enough rest and curating a weather-appropriate wardrobe. But instead of heading straight into an overhaul of your entire style, we suggest easing into the imminent summer by starting small, with key shoes and bags that will have lasting power in the sunshine and beyond.
Choosing the right finishing touches to complement your clothing is a form of self-expression that should not be underrated. They have the power to make or break an outfit and well-chosen shoes or bags can go a long way in elevating a look. With that in mind we’ve selected five pieces from African and Black-owned brands to add to your summer wardrobe.
Founded by London College of Fashion alum Zainab Ashadu, Zashadu is a sustainable luxury brand that specializes in handcrafted leather handbags and shoes. Working with leather fabrics sourced locally and rough-cut precious stones, Zashadu pieces are created in-house at its studio in Lagos, Nigeria by a team of artisans who make each item by hand, using traditional techniques passed down through generations. From shoulder bags to clutches and bucket styles, each piece is stripped of excess touches and hardware, in order to give precedence to the leathers and the craft that goes into making them.
The teal green and orange Baby Hero top-handle bag is the perfect accompaniment to an evening look. It’s created from Ayers snakeskin and is entirely handcrafted by a single artisan therefore no two pieces are alike. The ideal finishing touch is the quote from the designer’s favorite poet, Rumi, embroidered inside the flap of the bag.
Founded in August 2019 by British-Nigerian designer Titi Adesanya, footwear brand Titi Adesa has already graced the feet of stylish stars such as actors Kirby Howell Baptiste and Emily Blunt, as well as entrepreneur Olivia Palermo. From classic pumps and heeled sandals to chic mules and sleek slides, each pair of Titi Adesa shoes is handcrafted in Milan by skilled Italian artisans. They are designed to offer a seamless balance between understated elegance and modern femininity in redefined, minimalist silhouettes, created for the contemporary woman with a youthful essence.
The Yara Ombré Sandal epitomizes the brand’s minimalist aesthetic with a colorful twist, thanks to its bold orange hue. It features ankle-tie strings for a comfortable fit and is finished with the rose-gold tilted diamond logo that is visible on every sole.
Named after the Haitian Creole words for “little courage”, Petit Kouraj is the brainchild of former fashion stylist Nasrin Jean-Baptiste. Born in London to Haitian immigrants, Jean-Baptiste amassed more than a decade’s worth of experience as an international fashion stylist before launching her own brand after a trip to her native country in 2018. With an innate desire to create something meaningful, Jean-Baptiste created a line of one-of-a-kind handmade bags full of personality and knitted from sustainable cotton using traditional crafting techniques. Petit Kouraj works with a women-led organization and artisans in Haiti who weave each piece by hand.
The Mini Fringe Tote is a signature design and features an eye-catching fringed panel on a fishnet-style construction. It’s finished with a leather handle and detachable strap, allowing it to be worn various ways on the shoulder, across the body style or just handheld.
Filled with the intention of redefining the look and feel of the classic Moroccan slipper, designer Rhita Sebti takes a modern approach to her creations for her eponymous footwear brand by maintaining the traditional elements of Morocco’s heritage while adding her own contemporary aesthetic. With styles ranging from platform mules to slingback sandals, each pair is handmade in Morocco using materials such as naturally dyed raffia, satin or suede, and have distinctive silver-toned linings made of traditional Moroccan embroidery, an archival symbol inspired by Moroccan kaftans.
Rhita Sebti’s hallmark slip-on slides take their cue from the traditional Babouche shoe worn in the North African country. The Rafina II slides have been crafted by hand from natural raffia and adorned with gold bands while the black Anya pair are finished with silver studs. They are a chic yet comfortable way to step out in style for any occasion.
Founded by self-taught Haitian-born designer Valerie Blaise, New York -based brand Vavvoune creates leather bags and accessories that are made to capture emotions, moods and moments. Each bag is designed and handmade in New York’s Garment District, using Italian leather thoughtfully sourced from deadstock material left over by ultra-luxury brands, which means sustainable practices such as upcycling are part of the Vavvoune’s DNA.
Styles such as the fringed Clarette Baguette are chic choices for daily use, designed to hold the essentials while the classic neutral hue will add a touch of sophistication to summertime looks.