The Woven Collection, a Zero Waste Initiative
Here, amidst the vibrant markets and bustling corridors of Addis Ababa, it's not uncommon to see more cattle roaming the streets than people. Ethiopia has a greater livestock population than any other African nation, especially at this time of year, when religious celebrations often feature cattle in a central role. Between all the fasting, feasting, and festivities to come, there's one thing you won't see much of – waste. To waste, in Ethiopia, is to disrespect the life of the animal.
The cultural reverence for cattle here has played an often-understated role in the Parker Clay story. A rich, ancient tradition of leatherworking inspired us, and those same time-tested traditions lent themselves rather naturally to sustainable ways of doing business in the 21st century. Sourcing leather from local, family ranches was as convenient as it was crucial, while a process using minimal water, natural dyes, and low-impact machinery came second nature.
And waste? Our team in Addis Ababa wouldn't have it.
At first, we did our best to craft as many components of our bags out of a single cut of leather as possible. (Picture yourself cutting out as many cookies from the rolled-out dough as you can). But there were always scraps. Our initial solution was to pass those bits and pieces on to local cobblers and other makers, as well as using them to make tags, trims, and other small items.
But sustainability is never a finished product – it's an evolution. The goal was to maximize the longevity and utility of every last inch of raw material, reducing the chance that even a scrap of our leather would fail to exist for purpose. The goal was Zero Waste.
Introducing the Woven Collection, a Zero Waste Initiative.
Our team focused on woven constructions evoking timeless East African design, using traditional hand-weaving methods to turn "useless" scraps into cohesive and functional accessories built to last multiple lifetimes.
In a way, these bags represent something made from nothing. It's "precycled leather", rescued from a landfill years before it even got there. Because an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.
Made to Order, Launching April 14th