Ethics + Creativity + Heritage
Ashley Alves Collection is the green luxury brand on a mission to inspire change. Its premiere collection, Bolsa Verde, defines that mission one bag at a time. Handcrafted from vintage fabrics and environmentally sustainable materials from around the world, each bag in the Bolsa Verde collection is a work of art with a unique story.
The collection pays homage to my Cape Verdean heritage. The design DNA for Bolsa Verde is based on five elements of Cape Verde’s ecology and culture: Fogo – one of the main volcanic islands represents the creative impulse, Fauna – birds and other animals that evoke freedom and motivation, Porto – literally “Port” represented by the anchor signifying the connectedness of people and security of community, Flora – flowers and vegetation which represent both rootedness and innovative approaches to life, and finally Mar – the sea, a balance of grace, power, and depth. Themes and colors for each season collection begin with the materials I find.
Each year I set aside several weeks travel time to search flea markets worldwide for materials that look as if they have magnificent stories to tell. Past collections, The Journey Home and Migrant Sands used fabrics and other elements from Spain, Portugal, France, Cuba, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, the UK, and Poland. Through sewing, painting, screen printing, beading, and hand embroidering, a piece then takes on primarily one of the five design elements. Each bag has a minimum 210 hours invested in it from concept to completion, and some bags can go up to 405 hours depending on the embellishments and size. I manipulate until a piece is beautiful from every angle. I love the surprise of opening a bag and finding a bold color or graphic pattern inside.