Just in time for Stinson weather, Kayu Design has popped up on our radar with its gorgeous, handcrafted beach totes and straw clutches. Because of course we want every piece in the whole locally designed collection, we caught up with Burlingame-based proprietor Jamie Lim, who shared with us her journey of returning to her roots to bring natural materials and craft to the forefront of her work.
Lim's 7-year-old brand Kayu supports artisans from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia by helping to develop their skills and sharing proceeds of sales toward the economic growth of the communities that keep their crafts alive. Kayu's goal is to bolster generations of artisan.
Prepare for some serious bag envy:
7x7: Where does the Kayu design influence come from?
Jamie Lim: "I grew up in Southeast Asia, where indigenous craft played such a tremendous role in the community. I was always entranced by this sentiment and knew that I wanted to somehow be involved in its preservation, which is why I started Kayu. The collection is inspired by the natural materials that lend themselves to these crafts and by the vibrant colors and patterns that influence the artisans I meet on my travels."
7x7: What is it about working with artisans and natural materials that speaks to Kayu's design elements?
JL: Everything starts with the technique itself and the materials available to the artisans. The way they utilize natural, sustainable materials like straw, shell and wood, turning them into such beautiful, simplistic pieces with great attention to detail, that is what Kayu is built upon.
7x7: What are your spring essentials?
JL: "This season I am all about mixing pieces that feel tribal and tropical, making my entire life feel like a vacation. From Kayu's Spring collection, the Kama Tote has become a staple for daytime and the Malu Clutch adds a little bit of a fierce touch to take on the night. Crochet and fringe are a really fun way to push the envelope with this look, so pieces like the Kabuto Leather Cuff and this Miguelina's Rosi top are going to be among my wardrobe favorites for spring. I also can't live without Malie Body Cream!"
7x7: What influenced Kayu's latest pieces?
JL: "I have always been inspired by my travels, and this season I took inspiration from one of my favorite places in the world, France, which you see clearly in the Bonjour Pouch and St. Tropez Tote."
7x7: Why is Kayu such a perfect fit for SF women?
JL: "San Francisco culture is about the ability to be casual and laid back while still managing to stand out. A conscious lifestyle is important as well. Kayu, which focuses on being artisanal rather than mass-produced, strives to be all of these things."