Banjara bags - a true nomadic accessory
If you’ve been following any kind of ‘bohemian’ inspired brand, you may have come across a Banjara bag, or clutch or tote. They’re not common but, they aren’t uncommon either. They are unique and connected to a deeply creative tribal tradition of embroidery and textile flair.
The name comes from the name given to the nomadic Lambadi people. *They are the largest gypsy group in India and are known as the root gypsies of the earth. Gypsies began traveling from India to different regions of Europe hundreds of years ago, and differing dialects evolved in the regions in which each group settled. The Banjara's name is derived from the word bajika, which means trade or business, and from banji, meaning peddlers pack. They are now located in over fifty percent of the districts of India.
Their traditional clothing and dress is elaborate in intricately made by hand. Mirrored and embroidered textiles and cloth adorned in vintage coins, abundant stitching and drenched in color.
**The Banjara, an ethnic group composed of semi-nomadic tribes found throughout the Indian subcontinent , are renowned for their highly colorful textiles. Embellished with mirrors, shells, and intricate embroidery, Banjara work displays a surprisingly modern aesthetic. Created to showcase embroidery skill, protect the owner from harm, and channel auspicious powers, the Banjara technique is unique in India and is a celebration of the strength of the women who practice it.
The beauty of these textiles pieces is that they are often one of a kind. Unique to the woman who is making them and not produced for mass, commercial consumption. Most often, it’s the pieces of these Banjara textiles that are stitched together by hand to create outstanding, highly coveted bags, clutches and anything else that can be adorned in color and texture.
There is a vast range in the quality of product you will see out there in regards to how well the textiles have been maintained and the quality of the stitching of the bags. It’s a time intensive and labor intensive job making these bags since so much has to be hand stitched due to the fact that many industrial machines can’t make it through the thick fabrics. Make no mistake, you can get cheap bags of this kind in India but the quality is also very reflective of the price. If you see a banjara bag that looks too cheap, it’s very like that it is cheap in quality and design as well.
Our new banjara collection of clutches, boho fringe festival bags and fringe banjara crossbody bags are of the highest quality. We use only the best maintained textiles and high quality leather. It’s all meticulously stitched together, fully lined and we use YKK metal zippers.
Many of these textile pieces are nearly 50 years old. Some were made in the 80's, others in the 60's and some from the early 90's. That's the beauty of these bags, they marry all era's and style. If you see some with the beaded disk attached, that's work from Afghanistan.
The silver leather detailing throughout creates a clean, bright story inspiring light hearted connections, sexy conversations and flirty fun while roaming this big, beautiful planet.
Below are some photos of the beautiful Banjara tribal women. They are strong, creative, powerful women who serve as an example of full womanhood.
*excerpt from www.joshuaproject.net
**excerpt from ‘Textiles of the Banjara’ by Charllote Kwon