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Cactus Leather

As you all know, my designs and bags are made of vegan leather, but it’s still not 100% natural, so I’m always looking for new and better options for my designs. I came across these two Mexican gentleman who made leather with Cactus.

What can be more Mexican, than leather made of their national plant; CACTUS.
And personally as a cactus lover, I must say: I CAN’T WAIT to get my hands on this fabric and make an amazing collection with this super mexican and natural fabric.

VEGAN CACTUS LEATHER FROM MEXICO

With the purpose of creating an alternative to animal leather, Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez, both from Mexico, developed vegan leather made with nopal (a cactus), which they successfully showcased last October 2019 in Milan, Italy.

After two years of research and work, the creators could finally finish marketable cactus leather in July 2019. Its trade name is Desserto, and it has competitive features compared to animal or synthetic leather, like elasticity and being customizable and breathable.

Adrian and Marte had the idea after working in the furniture automotive and fashion industries where they identified that the problem of environmental pollution was serious. As a result, they were genuinely interested in reducing environmental impact, so they decided to leave their jobs and start Adriano Di Marti, a company to focus on developing Desserto, which nowadays is known as cactus or nopal vegan leather. 

Are you as excited as I am? I will keep you posted on new developments with Just Stitched & Desserto Leather.

Bali Crafts

Bali is the island of the gods, but also of the arts. You can see and feel the creativity everywhere. These people are craftsmen and artisians, from birth. They learn the skills and techniques from their parents and it’s passed on for many generations. No factories, no machines, no robots, actual people, with actual trades. They are able to make something that most people can’t, to earn money to provide for their family and community.

 

When you drive around and visit smaller villages you will see woodworkshops, metalshops, glass blowing shops and many other kind of craftshops. I think it’s inspiring and beautiful how they live their lives and are able to create something new every day. Look at the beautiful offerings they make, it’s like a piece of art. \Or the handpainted puppets they use to entertain and educate the children. They don’t buy these in China, they make it themselfs. I know it probably sounds more magical than it actually is, but I believe having a trade, having a talent and being creative is good for the soul.

The jewelry and accessories I sell in my webshop are all handmade, with natural products from Bali. When you walk into a jewelry workshop, you’ll see people sitting on the floor, surrounded by beads, charms and tassels. When I wanted to take pictures of their creative process, they got very shy, so I don’t have any good picture of the process. But I do have a good picture with Kiki.

I met her on the beach, while she was selling her handmade bracelets and necklaces. We started talking and she told me about her village and her kids and family. She needs to sell her jewelry on the beach every day to get dinner on the table and when she’s home she’s making the bracelets and necklaces. She’s not the only woman roaming the beaches of Bali, hoping to sell some of her pride and joy. To help her out and to make you guys happy with these cute bracelets I bought a dozan of bracelets. She was over the moon and kept saying it was for good luck and then she slapped the money on the table for extra good luck. I still don’t know why she did that, so if anyone knows, I’d love to hear the story.

There are many more men and women working their trades. For example the tradional Ikat weaving, called Grinsing. It’s known as the most iconic cultural heritage of Bali Aga (People of the Mountain) They dye the yarn with all natural ingredients. For example red originates from the roots of mengkudu trees, yellow is made from candlenut oil. And to get a black color, they make an indigo color from taum grass and mix it with the red one. Then they use a single or a double loom to weave the patterns. Everything is done by hand and it can take up to a few months to finish a grinsing.

Isla Ibiza

In October I traveled to Ibiza for a week. The main reason to go to Ibiza was to explore and check out the island. I was interested in living there and starting my own shop or selling on the hippiemarkets that are so popular overthere. I thought before actually moving there, I should check out the vibe and the people, because I heard many different stories. I had the whole week planned with trips to beaches and cities, to see what would be the best beach and best place to live. I also had a few appointments with people who live on the Island and the managers of two hippie markets. I enjoyed Ibiza very much, but unfortunately it was a little dissapointing for me. Most hippie markets have a very long waiting list before it’s even possible to get a stand just for one day and then you’re not even sure you can get a stand the next week. Living coasts are over the roof, so I would have to get a job on the side, which isn’t ideal because I want to spend my time designing and creating. And last but not least, it was soooo busy, even in October. The beaches were packed, it was almost impossible to get a parkingspot and the markets were so crowded you almost walked backwards, I don’t even want to think about high season. I don’t think I would be happy when it’s so touristy and crowded. For a holiday it’s absolutely paradise, but I decided it’s not for me and Just Stitched, eventhough Just Stitched would fit perfectly with the Ibiza, bohemian hippie vibe and on the markets I didn’t see many designs like mine, but I think I can find a better place for me to be happy, design my bags and set up a shop. Because that’s what I’m doing, I’m looking for the right place to emigrate and live a life close to the beach and always wearing a bikini.

Photoshoot locations

Platges de Comte

Festival Club

Nikki Beach

Es Vedra

Sa Caleta

Platja de ses Salines

Cala de Benirràs – trommelen

Restaurants

Project Social – Santa Eulalia

Cute restaurant a few minutes walk from the beach.  They had the best vegan burgers in town with extra avocado. Can’t get any better than that right?

Simbiosis – Ibiza town

Perfect restaurant for the last sunbeams of the day. Very cut and authentic little restaurant. I had my First vegan cheese here on a veggie burger and I loved it.

The Giri Cafe – San Juan

This little village is perfect for strolling down the streets and markets stalls (Sundays). It’s not that touristy, but they have a few popular restaurants. The Giri Cafe, for example. There’s this awesome garden, where you can hang out with beautiful views. And the food isn’t too bad either 😉

 

 

Hippie markets

Punta Arabí

Hippie Market Punta Arabí was established in 1973. Ever since they started this popular hippie market, they’ve been selling handmade products. It all started when the management of Hotel Club ‘Punta Arabi’offered some hippies to sell their handmade products and items from all over the World. There were 5 market stalls, Maggie with delicious sweets, a lady from Formentera with Woll jumpers (from her own sheep), a little boy selling puppies, a few kids exchanging their toys and another guy selling jewelry from India. Peope playing the guitar and singing gave it an extra special ambiance. In that day they sold their stuff from sheets on the ground, but over the year it evolved into a huge market with over 500 stalls which makes this the biggest market in Ibiza.

If you love accessories and getting inspired like me, you can walk around there for hours. There’s a special craftsmen area, so make sure you check that out. Some of the stall sell commercial products, just like his neighbor,but there are also some people with handmade products scattered around the area. You can enjoy your drinks, paella, cake and other lovely snacks while listening to live Music which makes you feel like a true hippie for a while.

Opening hours
April – October, every Wednesday from 10am – 6pm

Location
Club Punta Arabí (Es Caner)
Avenida Punta Arabí

How to get there by car
From Santa Eulalia you follow the sign to Es Canar. Turn right before ‘Es Canar’ and follow the sings ‘Club Punta Arabí’ towards ‘Cala Martina’. Drive all the way to the end of the street where you’ll find public parking and private parking where you can park for €5 (at that time)


Las Dalias

Another bigger and popular hippie market is Las Dalias. On Valentineday in 1985 the ‘Mercadillo las Dalias’ was established with only 5 stalls and a few customers. 30 years after that day, it grew to 200 marketstalls and sometimes even 20.000 visitors. It’s more than just a market, it’s a community. You can spend hours strolling the marketstalls, sitting down for drinks and good, they serve cocktails, live Music and much more. There’s a large parking lot where you can park your car for €3 (at that time).

This market has more handmade, authentic products than Punta Arabí, so it felt more original to me. I loved the products and it was very inspiring. If is wasn’t thát busy I would have loved to sell my designs there, but it was a little too crowded for me. Nonetheless you should definitly check out this market, because it’s lovely.

They even have a webshop where you can buy some of the products. From June til September there are also nightmarkets that you should go to, it’s a totaly different atmosphere, with all the lights and of course a better temperature.

Opening hours
Every Saturday from April – October 10am – 8pm
Every Saturday from November – March 10am – 6pm

Location
Carretera Eivissa – San Carlos KM 12
Sant Carles de Peralta

San Jordi

In the south of the Island, close to Les Salinas and the airport, there’s a second hand market on Saturdays. For the best items you should get up early and find those gems between all the crap 😉 There’s coffee, some snacks and live Music. This market is less of a handmade market, it’s more fleemarket with second hand products, that people sell on sheets on the Floor or on a table. There are a few people selling their handmade items, probably because they’re on the bottom of the long long waiting list for the other hippie markets.

Opening hours
Every Saturday from 9am – 2.30pm

Location
Hipodromo Sant Jordi
Carretera Al Aeroport km 4.1,
Sant Josep de SA Talaia


San Juan (officially ‘Sant Joan de Labritja’) 

Everyday Sunday on the street around the church there’s a small hippie market from 10am – 2pm. This market isn’t as commercial as the other ones, there a just a few market stall with mostly handmade items. I loved this market, this was what I was looking for. Just a few craftsmen and designers, selling their products while making the products on the spot. So you can actually see how the products are made.

 

 

Sources:

www.idyllischibiza.nl/marktjes/
www.essentialibiza.com/news/benirras-to-the-beat-of-the-drum/
www.projectsocial.co/

What is vegan leather?

So there is this “new” thing, it’s called Vegan leather, but what is it exactly?

Let’s start by explaining what Vegan in general means.
Being on a vegan diet means you don’t eat animal products at all. So no products made from and by animals; no meat, no dairy, no eggs and also no honey.
And then there is the Vegan Lifestyle, when you life a vegan lifestyle, you don’t use and eat animals or animal by-products. No leather, no silk, no beauty products and any other product that was made using animals in any way.

Now we’ve got that settled, we can start figuring out this big mystery term “Vegan Leather”.
Vegan means not using animals in any way, so Vegan leather refers to any material that was designed to look and feel like leather without harming animals.
We all know the excistence of faux fur, faux pas, faux leather. The most common version of faux leather are composed of either Polyvincyl chloride (PVC) or Polyurethane (PU). So as you can see, they’re not made from animal by-products. You’ll probobly feel it coming… Vegan leather is in fact faux leather. There is no difference between most artificial, faux and vegan leathers other than terminology.

But there are different kinds of vegan leather:

  • Vegetan:This is a microfibre material that is specifically designed and used as an animal-friendly leather substitute.
  • Lorica:This material is made out of several different microfibers.  Patented and manufactured by Lorica Sud, an Italian tannery
  • Birko-Flor: This is what eco-icon Birkenstock It’s made out of acrylic and polyamide felt fibres. There are two kinds — the kind you find on normal Birks and a kind that looks like pleather.
  • Birkibuc:Another Birkenstock baby. It’s made out of the same stuff, but looks and feels like nubuck leather.
  • Kydex:This is an acrylic-PVC alloy. It’s produce by Kleerdex, a manufacturing company.
  • PVC:And of course the one we all know; Polyvincyl chloride. Good for animals. Not so good for the environment.
  • PU: And the other one you might have heard of before, also known as polyurethane, not so good for the environment either.

These types of leather vary from “Cheap” Vegan leather (usually PVC) to “High Quality” Vegan leather (usually PU) and many in between. So not all vegan or faux leather fabrics have to be cheap and bad quality, as most people will say about faux leather. It’s just that people don’t tend to pay more money for a faux leather, but if you call it vegan leather, is has a much classier and positive vibe to it. Because faux, means fake and we don’t want that of course.

The higher quality vegan leather can be extremely durable and water resistant. So they will look the same as the day you bought them and you don’t have to worry your bag gets ruined in the rain.  And of course the biggest advantage to vegan leather is that you get the aesthetics of real leather without the cost of an animal’s life.

So Vegan leather, is the same as faux leather, just with a nicer name and a positive association.

Colorful Cartagena

Colombia is a very versatile country. So many differences between countryside, people, language and even a little cultural. Such an interesting country, filled with life, color and natural beauty.
In this blog I’ll tell you a little more about the magical city Cartagena.

Cartagena, also known as Cartagena de Indias. It’s a huge city with an enormous port, that used to function perfectly against pirates and intruders. The old city center is surrounded by the 13 km long citywalls, which gives this area an extra urban vibe. The walls are painted in every color you can imagine, every door is perfect for door-lovers like me. There are wallpaintings, cute little cafe’s and outdoorshops, that make this Cartagena a place you wander around and make you feel like you jumped back a few decades. When you reach the wall at the beach side, you can walk up the wall, take a look out of the ocean, when you’re not blown away by the breeze (and the view of course) and imagine how they used to protect the city with canons and artillary.

Dancing in the streets
At night you should definitely get dinner in the old town. Walk around and have drinks and dinner at some of the small squares and let the streetperformers entertain you. You’ll see streetdancers performing local ritual dances, dancebattles and also Micheal Jackson will moonwalk past your table. There’s music everywhere, foodstalls selling snacks and people life their lives outdoors. There is so much energy in this city, that it’s hard to go to sleep. You wanna stay and dance all night.

When you walk through the Gates or the old town, you’ll walk towards a cute park that’s called Parque Del Centenario. Where you can hangout and chill for a few hours, before you go off exploring and dancing into the night. One of the trees in the park houses a sloth, so keep your eyes open if you want to spot this very shy animal.

From the park you can walk straight into the Getsemaní neighbourhood. This vibrant and unpolished area is great for dining, drinking and dancing. There are also many hostels and hotels, so this area is fizzling at night. If you want to dance salsa, go to Café Havana, but there are so much more places you can dance salsa.

As you can see, Cartagena is an energetic city with all you need to enjoy yourself for a few days. Wander the colorfull street, dream away looking at the colonial mansions and kathedrals and find yourself back in a pirates of the carribean scene behind the canons of Cartagena.