Everything was so much easier as a child. If you borrowed a toy to play with, you knew, that after playtime in the sandbox was over, you had to give it back to the child it belonged to. If I ate cherries from the neighbour’s garden, my mother sent me over to them with plums. Those were the rules of the game. You get something, and you give something back. A great system, most of the time. But over time l lost track of it a bit. No wonder; efficiency, money and all these technological solutions for almost everything in our lives, are so perfectly thought out that I slipped behind.

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE –
THE BRAZILIAN PHILOSOPHY OF A HANDBAG

Category: Fashion     Text: Angela Peltner
Everything was so much easier as a child. If you borrowed a toy to play with, you knew, that after playtime in the sandbox was over, you had to give it back to the child it belonged to. If I ate cherries from the neighbour’s garden, my mother sent me over to them with plums. Those were the rules of the game. You get something, and you give something back. A great system, most of the time. But over time l lost track of it a bit. No wonder; efficiency, money and all these technological solutions for almost everything in our lives, are so perfectly thought out that I slipped behind. Humility and sacrifice are pretty much the least cool words in our high end capitalism. But if you don’t give anything back, a fundamental framework gets thrown out of sync. Life is a cycle. This is something that the founder of the label VOLTA ATELER, Fernanda Nascimento Daudt has definitely understood. The Brazilian woman founded her company in New York in 2017 and deals exclusively with handbags made of upcycled leather. Leather, which has already been made. Their mission is to find discarded leather or leather clippings which are considered waste in textile factories.
Upcycling Leather at is best: VOLTA ATELIER obtains the leather used for the handbags from textile factories. These are leftovers and trimmings that are collected and redesigned. Photos: De Sean Mills
VOLTA MEANS “RETURN” IN PORTUGUESE
For Fernanda it isn’t just about making something beautiful from preexisting materials. Fernanda’s work has a high symbolic and philosophical value, because the word VOLTA in her company is used consciously in two ways. Not only does she want to give something back to the earth, but she also wants to pay fair wages to the craftsmen who make her handmade unique bags. For that reason, the production is on the smaller side, and the product selection on the website is rather concise. But that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. These female heart-palpitation-inducing handbags aren’t just beautiful, they also have fancy names, like DOWNTOWN or SOHO. Obviously New York, Fernanda’s home, helps to inspire the names. The bags themselves, however, are produced exclusively in Brazil.
A fair deal. Take and give: First and foremost for the women in the Brazilian production plants. From VOLTA ATELIER. Photos: De Sean Mills
THE PERSON BEHIND THE CRAFT
At VOLTA ATELIER, the bags are made mainly by women. Most of the female artisans are refugees from Haiti, who live in Brazil and need to establish their roots there. Their workplace can be their own home or at least close by. That means no long commutes to and from working in large factories and especially no stretches of months away from their families. Fernanda’s work and approach pay off. In 2019 she and her company were nominated for the “Green Product Award”. Even my inner child is crossing its fingers for her. Just think of back then: when everything was so clear and so simple. With the plums and the cherries in the sandbox.

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