Dream Weaver

It's in the bag with this stylish tote from designer Be Inthavong.

<a href=Be Inthavong Handbag | Photo by Dylan Griffin" />
Photo by Dylan Griffin

For designer Be Inthavong, a handbag is more than fashion--it's personal. Inthavong, who was born in Laos and raised in Texas, descends from generations of women who made their living as silk weavers. In his New York apartment hangs a traditional sarong, which his grandmother wove at age 15. "It's a daily inspiration," he says. That inspiration is evident in his eponymous handbag line, which launched in 2010 and features a patent-pending textile made from tiny pieces of leather hand-woven together in a silk loom in Laos. It takes a month of painstaking work to create a single piece--like this platinum Bobo ($1,850)--but each sturdy, rich bag fuses a 500-year-old craft with modern American fashion. To accommodate his growing business and create further economic opportunity for women in Laos, Inthavong plans to build a new weaving mill there and invite tourists to learn about the culture and craft. "We can offer a historic piece of Laos," he says. "It's important for Laotian women to know their work is meaningful--socially and economically." beinthavong.com

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  • Amykalb

    Be, you have a beautiful collection and style. Thank you for introducing me to your culture when we were so young. Our club and modeling days were a blast! Love you always, Amy from Texas...