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With so many competing brands flooding the market , the ones that really stand out are those that go beyond great design like KON-DOR.
The Ecuadorian team behind the label, Laura Carrion and Carmen Correa, grew up surrounded by their country’s rich culture, lush countryside, and vibrant people. After parting ways to go to college, they reconnected in New York City years later and decided to fuse their love of fashion and country to launch their high-quality bags and accessories line.
KON-DOR’s mission is to support Ecuadorian communities by employing them and donating a percentage of their net sales to local charities. They hire artisans who create textiles for purse straps and handles and avoid mass production. The pair also seeks to provide their employees with adequate wages to sustain a quality standard of living.
Chica People spoke with the dynamic duo.
What does KON-DOR mean?
When we picked the name of our brand we both wanted it to be representative of the Andean Ecuadorian culture. For centuries the condor bird has fascinated the people of Ecuadorian sierra and over time it became the symbol of our country. Ecuador is and will always be our main point of inspiration. Choosing a name that sounds similar to that of a a majestic and unique animal works since it means so much for our people.
What kind of woman do you have in mind when you design?
Independent and free-spirited women who enjoy art, fashion, music and traveling.
The handle seems to be a central focal point of the bag? Why?
Every handle can be turned into a strap and is hand-made by an Ecuadorian artisan. Each one has a history. It gives a special touch to each bag. Finding two identical KON-DOR’s is nearly impossible. We wanted each bag to have its own unique identity, just like the women who use them.
Why is it so important for you to work with local artisans?
Over time, we’ve seen how many artisans have stopped dedicating their life to their art since the demand for them isn’t as popular as it used to be. Through our work, we wanted to support their craft and try to keep them employed and keep their culture alive.
How has Ecuador influenced the KON-DOR designs and the way you manufacture your bags?
We grew up surrounded by so much art and culture that it’s impossible to not call on that while designing. KON-DOR is a contemporary brand that mixes Ecuadorian textiles with high-quality textiles from all over the globe. We create luxurious pieces with hand-made artisanal details. Every KON-DOR has a bit of Ecuador in it. That makes each bag unique.
Your bags have positive affirmations inside of them. Why did you decide to do that?
Words have an unimaginable power: We wanted to empower all the women who use KON-DORS with positive phrases. You can train your self-esteem by consciously or unconsciously reading something POSITIVE. You can learn to accept all the good things that come with being a woman. We wanted our bags to be afashion accessory and an accessory that could have a positive influence on people’s everyday thoughts.
Parts of KON-DOR’s net sales are donated to different charities. Where do you donate and why?
It was important to us to give back. Believing in a cause that’s bigger than us is part of what KON-DOR is all about. It’s been hard being a young brand. It’s challenging to position it in the minds of consumers and markets, but we’ve found a way to not only support the artisans we work with, but to donate also to charities. A year ago, we were able to donate vaccinations to young orphans living with HIV, and in December, we donated everyday items to the same institution. We hope that as our brand grows, our donations will be able to grow as well.
What can we expect from KON-DOR in the future?
We’re planning to incorporate new textile designs and styles into our collections in order to attract more women to this movement. We wanted to take advantage of everything that our home country has to offer and share that with the world. And, of course, we want people to learn more about Ecuador through our designs and our products.