Transcending Chic

South African Integrity and Composition
Rarity Handbags began when one intrepid entrepreneur, Jacqueline Burge, rose to the challenge of working with spring bok hides. This raw material is notorious for its difficulty, but when a farmer’s wife approached Jacqueline with her concern about how the raw material was wasted in burnings, Jacqueline found her niche and a way to express her devotion for South African aesthetics and principles. Seventeen years later, the company has refined their techniques with this raw material, and employs artisans who are involved in every level of production.
 
“The Artisans are a large part of my inspiration, knowing that I am providing sustainable jobs, with full benefits, is the drive behind my need to for our business to succeed. You would need to meet these humble, grateful, dedicated individuals who make our company what is, and then you would understand why I want us to grow and flourish,” Jacqueline Burge, founder of Rarity Handbags, says of the artisans behind the textiles.
 
An amicable relationship with local tanneries ensures the meeting of international specifications and meeting buyers’ desires for color and design. Each hide is hand selected and hand cut after deliberating uniformity, design, color, and distinctive markings. The textiles are then dye cut with a pneumatic press, each cut precisely measured. Each edge is then skived by a highly trained machine operator, allowing for the density and thickness of the hide. Artisans then hand paint the unprocessed edges with up to five layers of special paint, complementing both the raw material and the desired outcome to bring a product that is both sustainable and exclusive to the buyer. 
 
Only then are the separate pieces made available for manufacturing. Every artisan receives a detailed process sheet. The process sheets provide measurements and directions to help maintain the integrity of the product for the artisans who work with up to fifty separate pieces at one time. Production managers facilitate process changes based on cotton color, which is key because the end product will move around the factory upwards of twenty times before it reaches employees responsible for cleaning and quality control. 
 
Rarity Handbag’s admirable predilection for perfection doesn’t stop there. Each piece is inspected twice before it leaves the factory. Each step of the process is warranted, providing products that offer functional, vibrant design available in colors like indigo, marine, port, and slate. 
 
“Our bestselling Feather clutch combines different materials in one product, and this is a signature for which Rarity has become known. This unusual combination of materials was inspired by the diverse and culturally rich society we live in, and became the basis for a literal translation of 'harmony in diversity'. At NYN we take this one step further by collaborating with the designer Juditha Saskinofsy. Juditha is known for her expertise in fabrics, and fabric print development, together we have taken the best-selling feather clutch one design step further through our collective collaboration. These limited-edition pieces will be on show at NYN,” Jacqueline says of what buyers can expect at the upcoming exhibition.
 
These clutches, embossed with ostrich feathers and a vivacious color palette, will be exhibited for potential buyers at NY NOW’s Artisan Resource August 20-23 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.
 
For more information, please visit www.rarity.co.za
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