Archive for the ‘bags’ Category

Fighting Human Trafficking with Damnok Toek

Posted on: January 23rd, 2017 by Leilani Angel No Comments

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month which is an excellent time to not only reflect on our brand journey in the fight against Human Trafficking but it is also the perfect time of the year to share a little insight as to what specifically inspires us to carry a cause every day all year long.

fair trade club meeting

Children of Damnok Toek, PC: Amy Fellows

Our fight on Human Trafficking has been going strong for the last 12 years largely due to the endless support from our customers and brand partners that share a similar social mission. We would like to start off the year by highlighting an organization that is very near and dear to our hearts, Damnok Toek. This organization works with vulnerable children and families in Cambodia. Their main objectives are to advocate for prevention, rehabilitation, integration and reintegration into the community. They serve individuals who have survived human trafficking, street working, homelessness, exploitation, abuse and those living with various disabilities.

Damnok Toek is a non-profit organization that has been instrumental in providing rehabilitation for marginalized children and youth by aiding in the development of a brighter future through a variety of nurturing services. This includes access to short-term to mid-term shelter facilities, family tracing and counseling services. They also offer life skills workshops and education that covers basic literacy and numeracy. Art therapy is also utilized as a method for creative expression and healing through dance, theater performances, painting and woodcarving.

fair trade club meeting

Classroom at Damnok Toek, PC: Damnok Toek website

More than 1,500 children per day are given support and care by the 100 employees throughout the three Damnok Toek facilities located in Cambodia. They are able to offer refuge and reformation for these children in need by the continuous support of global partners who have made it their mission to one day put an end to Human Trafficking. Malia Designs is one of many organizations that proudly supports Damnok Toek in their fight against Human Trafficking and other devastating challenges that these children endure. Each purchase with our company directly supports Damnok Toek. The amazing work they do  is precisely why we carry a cause and this is what fuels our desire to connect with individuals and communities all over the world in order to come together and bring awareness to this international crisis.

Human Trafficking is defined as, “the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person by such means as threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud or deception for the purpose of exploitation.” According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the most common form of Human Trafficking is for sexual exploitation followed by forced labor and victims are predominantly women and children.  

fair trade club meeting

Literacy Training at Damnok Toek, PC: Amy Fellows

We are dedicated to  fighting this epidemic, but we can’t do it alone. It is a devastating topic but it is a conversation that we need to continually have in order to create serious and immediate change.  We think Michelle Obama said it best in one of our all-time favorite quotes, “I hope that you will all reject the false comfort that others suffering is not your concern. That if you can’t solve all the world’s problems you shouldn’t even try.”  You can join us in our fight on Human Trafficking just by simply sharing this blog post and continuing this conversation within your communities. We are always stronger together and together we can make a difference.

The Night We Carried A Cause Together

Posted on: December 15th, 2016 by Leilani Angel No Comments

There is something magical that happens when you surround yourself with people that share a similar passion as yourself. We had the privilege of collaborating with the San Diego Style Bloggers for a private trunk show event at Bar Basic in Downtown San Diego and by the end of the night we bonded with our new fellow fair trade fashionistas and sustainable sisters.

fair trade club meeting Blogger babes Laura Neuzeth, Alessandra Gonzalez and Paulina Mo

Trunk show attendees included local taste makers within the fashion industry including bloggers, journalists, stylists, and designers. The coming together of prominent influencers such as Paulina Mo of Lil’ Bits of Chic and bilingual blogger sensation, Alessandra Gonzalez made for a spectacular evening filled with much needed conversation about the importance of ethical fashion and how we can collectively come together to carry a cause.

fair trade club meeting

Local designer, Jessica Cornejo, from Ziur Designs

The guests were able to shop from all of our eco-friendly collections including our hand crafted recycled feed bags and recycled cement bags. Brand Director, Lucia Ruth, was thrilled to conduct a brief presentation about our brand mission and how we can combat Human Trafficking through ethical fashion and business practices.

fair trade club meeting

Guests striking a pose with their new bags

Event attendees learned about our Fair Trade artisan partnerships in Cambodia and how Fair Trade employment opportunities provide a strong quality of life for our artisans and their families. By purchasing a Malia Designs handbag, you are indeed, carrying a cause, that supports proper treatment of artisan workers and lowering our collective carbon footprint on the environment.

fair trade club meeting

Guests learning about the brand mission from Lucia Ruth & Leilani Angel

This inspirational evening included fun photo booth action, cocktails, and tasty brick oven pizza. As the evening came to a close, it was clear that this event was much more than a fashionable night out, it was a call to action designed to spark curiosity about how fashion can be a force for good for both people and the planet.

fair trade club meeting

Cy Chen, Lilia, Tiffany Williams, Reca A’Shauntae, Leilani Angel, Alessandra Gonzalez, Laura Neuzeth & Paulina Mo

*All photos courtesy of Melisa Soriano

How to Carry Malia Designs with You All Day Long!

Posted on: November 22nd, 2016 by Leilani Angel No Comments

Between running errands, rushing off to work, squeezing in some fitness time, and enjoying a night out with friends, it’s safe to say that we love being active and on the go! The different  activities of our day often require an outfit change which means incorporating different bags and wallets into the mix…our favorite part! We teamed up with one of our favorite ethical fashion boutiques, The Golden Rule Boutique, to share some fun and easy ways that Malia Designs can carry a cause with you all day long.

fair trade club meeting

If you consider yourself to be a multitasker then this is the perfect accessory for you. Our travel wallet has enough space for all of your cards, coins, lip gloss, and even your cell phone. It also has a little wristlet strap so you can easily carry it around while running errands or grabbing a cup of coffee to start your day. Plus, elephants are said to bring good luck!

fair trade club meeting

Get your namaste on with our yoga mat bag from our Recycled Feed Bag Collection. This awesome bag comes in a variety of fun and vibrant colors that you can easily match to your fitness apparel. (We are diggin’ these elephant pants!) Added bonus…you can actually fit two mats in there if you like extra padding during your workout.

fair trade club meeting

Multi-task with our Recycled Cement Elephant Tote Bag! Let’s be honest…most of us probably carry half of what we own in our tote bags. If you’re like me and still rock a physical day planner, carry around a sweater, maybe an umbrella, a few power bars, water bottle, and a makeup bag at all times then you are my kind of gal and you would absolutely love our recycled cement tote bag! It’s super durable, and you can choose either a serpent, a mountain, an anchor, an eagle or an elephant design!

fair trade club meeting

Chill out with our Recycled Cement Alligator Travel Wallet. We are in love with this shape, it’s been a favorite for years! Our travel wallet is available in a cotton  canvas as well as recycled cement bag materials. This is the perfect item to take with you for a fun meet up with friends. You can totally dress up or go casual and our little gator guy will look super cute with you in your selfie shots!

fair trade club meeting

Celebrate the night with our Hand Woven Silk Clutch! You’ve conquered your day and now it’s time to reward yourself with a GNO or maybe a date night with your main squeeze. Our tie dyed clutch is made out of hand woven silk and comes in red and teal if you’re into creating a pop of color or classic black for a sophisticated chic look.

When you carry Malia Designs, you also carry a cause!  You are not only supporting global Fair Trade business practices but you are joining us in the fight against Human Trafficking! No matter if you are taking on the corporate world, building your own empire, pursuing an education, taking care of your family or all of the above…having the right wallet and bag is a great way to keep you organized and in style while supporting a beautiful social mission.

Photo Shoot Credits:
Model: Melissa McInnis
Fashion Stylist: Melisa Calamayan-Soriano
Photography, Hair, & Makeup: AJ Hair Play
Wardrobe: The Golden Rule Boutique

Celebrate fair trade month – a special Giveaway Wednesday!

Posted on: October 7th, 2015 by Lucia No Comments

October is fair trade month and we are celebrating with a special Giveaway Wednesday! The lucky winner will get to choose a bag (or wallet) from our new Khhmer Collection. And what’s better than winning one awesome fair trade handbag? Winning two so that you can share some fair trade love with a friend!

damnok toek

Win a bag from the Khmer Collection + one for your BFF!

Here’s how you enter:

1. Post a comment below letting us know your favorite from the Khhmer Collection.

2. Head over to Facebook, and Instagram for two more chances to win.

3. The contest ends October 13th and we’ll announce the winner next Wednesday, October 14th.

4. Good luck to you all!

Mother’s Day Giveaway

Posted on: April 21st, 2015 by Lucia No Comments

It’s another GIVEAWAY WEDNESDAY, and this one is just in time for Mother’s Day! To celebrate, we’re giving away your choice of any one of our Signature Collection designs, along with one for you to gift to Mom! Choose a color and a print that represent your Mom’s signature style, and let her know how her Mother’s Day gift is “designed to carry a cause.”


Our Signature Collection is created by an artisan co-op that got its start by offering training and jobs to women in a rural Cambodian village. The idea was simple, by bringing economic opportunity to these women, they could stay in the village with their families instead of leaving to seek employment in a larger city where they could be vulnerable to exploitation. Over the past several years, this co-op has experienced substantial growth and on our recent visit, four of the artisans were out on maternity leave, a benefit that would not be available to them in many other circumstances.


Here’s how to enter this month’s GIVEAWAY WEDNESDAY:

1) Finish the following sentence in the blog comments section below: “My mom’s signature style is _______________.”

2) Head over to our Facebook page and our Instagram feed for additional chances to enter. The more platforms you like or comment on, the more you can increase your chances of winning.

3) The contest ends next Wednesday when we will have a random drawing to determine the lucky winner and make the announcement on social media.

Good luck everyone and Happy Mother’s Day!

the Malia Designs team

Don’t leave home without them: 5 travel essentials to pack for your next trip

Posted on: March 26th, 2015 by Lucia No Comments

It’s almost here, our annual trip to Cambodia is less than a week away! Of course there is quite a bit of planning and packing that goes along with traveling across the globe, (especially to a tropical climate in the developing world). While I was in the process of getting all of my travel ducks in a row I thought it would be fun to share 5 things that I don’t travel without.

1) Malia Designs’ travel wallet

This is one I definitely can’t do without. Available in a bright recycled feed bag material, a funky cement bag print and a colorful hand screen printed silk, you are sure to find one to fit your unique style. The best things about our travel wallet are its roomy interior which has multiple sections for travel docs, passport and receipts; the wristlet strap which lets you ditch your larger purse or tote; and the fact your smart phone will also fit snugly and safely inside. I love this shot below of Holly from Fair Earth and her Malia Designs’ travel wallet shopping in Africa, and of course the awesome Shifra Whiteman at the Louvre in Paris is priceless.


2) A pair of Prana pants

Are you familiar with Prana? They are a sportswear brand primarily know for yoga wear. They are committed to sustainability, transparency in their supply chains and have even developed a Fair Trade certified apparel line. The pants that are my “go-to” are not yoga tights or leggings, but are constructed of a performance fabric that is light weight, wrinkle resistant and quick drying. That last part is key. You can wash these bad boys in the sink and they’ll be completely dry in an hour or two (even in 90% humididty).


3) Awesome ethical earrings

When I am traveling, I always bring a selection of fun earrings. They don’t take up much room in my suitcase, and I have a little silk travel pouch and I fill it up with my fave pairs. This way I am easily able to dress up a “plain Jane” outfit, I look better in my travel pics (vain, yes I know) and I’ll also have cool memories of the trip when I wear the earrings back at home. Check out the beauties below from Greenola Style.


4) A book with pages

My husband gifted me a Kindle a few years ago and so I do most of my reading on it, and for the most part I enjoy it. I know it may seem like a weird travel tip to promote lugging an actual book around, but there is something different (and better) about reading a book with actual pages. It’s easier on your eyes, if it gets a little wet from poolside lounging your pages just have a few wrinkles as opposed to a major malfunction, and I love choosing juicy books to bring along with me and making myself wait to start them until I am on the plane. The anticipation!


5) Your positive attitude and patience

Traveling can be stressful, even if you are going on a vacation. There are lots of moving pieces and people involved in a big trip, and undoubtedly something is going to go wrong. When it does, try to summon your patience and open your mind to new experiences that may be available to you as a result of the mishap. The good stories never start out with, “and then we followed our itinerary exactly as we planned” anyway so roll with the changes and journey onward!

That bag is made out of what?!?

Posted on: March 9th, 2015 by Lucia No Comments

We get this one A LOT, and since our upcycled cement bag collection just keeps growing in both popularity and available styles, we thought it would be fun to show off how the upcycling process works.

The photos below show cement bags lining the streets of Phnom Penh.  Fun Fact: Cement is the most used material in the world! All of the artwork is already printed by the manufacturers onto the bags.  It’s fortunate for us that the cement companies in Southeast Asia create such fun and vibrant packaging.


First, we work with our talented designer to come up with new and original design options for the line.  After concepts and sketches are agreed upon, she creates a detailed pattern that we provide to our artisan partners.


Next,  it’s time for the bags to be thoroughly washed and dried, since well they used to be full of cement!  The cement bag material is lightweight, strong and water resistant which makes it perfect for upcycling.  To upcycle means to “reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.”


Finally, the bags are cut into specific patterns and sewn into an awesome new tote, wallet or messenger bag by our talented artisans. These funky and functional designs work overtime to “Carry a Cause” since they not only provide meaningful work to our artisans, but help our planet by keeping waste out of landfills.


We’d love to hear from you about your favorite upcycled products and to know what styles you would like to see added to our ever growing upcycled cement bag collection!


Giveaway Wednesdays!

Posted on: February 25th, 2015 by Shifra Whiteman No Comments


Introducing GIVEAWAY WEDNESDAYS! Every few Wednesdays we will be launching a new giveaway via social media where you will have the chance to win a FREE Malia Designs tote, handbag or other awesome accessory. This week we are giving away our limited edition 10th anniversary tote. These totes were created to celebrate our 10th birthday—from unique signature prints created for past collections—and the only way you can get your hands on one, is to win one!


Here’s how you enter:

1. We will posting the giveaway specifics on Facebook, Instagram and right here on our Blog. The more platforms you like or comment on, the more you can increase your chances of winning.

2. Each person gets ONE entry per like and comment on each social media platform. So when you like and comment on Facebook and Instagram and post a comment on the Blog, you earn FIVE giveaway entries.

3. The contest begins on a Wednesday and ends the following Wednesday.

4. Once the contest is over, we will have a random drawing to determine the lucky winner and make the announcement on you guessed it, the following WEDNESDAY!

The picture above contains this month’s bag for GIVEAWAY WEDNESDAY and the question is “What’s your favorite part about Malia Designs bags?”

On your mark, get set………… GO!