Growing up in Ecuador, Carmen Maria Correa and Laura Carrion were inspired by their home’s vivid landscapes, beautiful crafts, spectacular people, and most importantly, sartorial choices — such as the waist-cinchers, the traditional garb of Ecuadorians — which inspired the design for the popular bag strap so present in their collections.
The brand’s story is a true example of innovation sparked by creativity. In New York, Correa and Carrion discovered that they wanted to create something that would not only embody their enchanting home of Ecuador, but also the wealth of experience they had gained through their travels. Thus, the creative brainchild, KON-DOR was born. Named after the Ecuadorian Condor a bird symbolizing power, health, virtue, and beauty, KON-DOR was established to provide luxury handbags with artisan accents to fashion-forward women all over the world.
A strong focus of the product development stage is creative design using the most high-quality leather to create luxury leather handbags. To accentuate the bags, the designers add a colorful band, or strap, resembling the traditional Ecuadorian faja or belt —a style they coined nearly three years ago before it was seen elsewhere in the fashion industry.
“That’s how we got the inspiration for the bands, we saw it everywhere around us. It’s what the people here wear,” says Correa. The pair believes in small details that make a large difference. They use recycled polyester and organic cotton to line their bags, which ultimately makes a positive impact on the environment. Because the straps are easily interchangeable, the style of each bag can change in minutes.
KON-DOR pieces fit perfectly into a travel-filled lifestyle. “Travel is key, living life to the fullest, and KON-DOR is this and much more,” Correa explained. “We want KON-DOR to be perceived as a lifestyle.”
The designers can say with confidence that no two bags are the same. Correa is a strong believer in the transformative power of positive affirmation and self-love in the form of beautiful words. Each bag, has a unique message crafted solely for the wearer — “I am beautiful” and “I am grateful” being among the two beloved phrases they insert onto the inside of the bags to remind the wearer of her worth every time she uses it, and thus be inspired to feel confident in herself.
The pair not only wants to impact the fashion world but also lend a humanitarian hand. Their first movement is to help a small orphanage of children living with HIV in the province of Imbabura, become self-sustainable. Purchasing one bag also helps support Ecuadorian artisans as the brand donates part of its proceeds to different causes that are close to their hearts. “We believe in giving back,” Correa gushed. “We know how lucky we are to be following our dreams and are very grateful for this and much more, so even if we change the life of one person [less fortunate]our business makes so much more sense.” They are pushed to do better, to grow, to follow their dreams with a vengeance and live with a purpose bigger than themselves.
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