The Kira is the national dress for Bhutanese women. It is an a long dress consisting of a rectangular piece of woven fabric. It is wrapped and folded around the body, typically pinned at the shoulder and bound at the waist with a long belt, called a Kera. Nowadays, women typically wear the kera slung across the left shoulder as an accessory. The Kera is what we have transformed into straps for our handbags.
These particular Kera belts were woven by Sherab Zangmo, a 29 year old mother of two. Sherab was born to a poor farming family in one the most remote villages called Bardo in Zhemgang, Bhutan. Sherab was fortunate to have some schooling, however, she spent most her time weaving clothes in exchange for cash or goods to help her family stay afloat.
At age 17, she married a teacher from the Bumthang district and relocated with him to the city of Paro where she currently resides. Although her husband has a small income, they still struggle to pay rent, buy food rations, and pay for their children’s education, which is very important to them. As a result, Sherab has returned to her weaving roots to make dresses and accessories to bring in additional income.
"Weaving has become my patience, without which I would not know how to spend my time" -Sherab
A portion of each strap purchased goes directly to Sherab and her family.