Kaloes is a leading brand of fashion and lifestyle raffia tote bags. Based in Antananarivo, Madagascar, the company has been created in 2000 by Jean-Marie Parthenay and his wife, Dina, enthusiast by the red island and its fantastic handcraft methods.
The material we use the most is raffia. This fiber is obtained from the raffia palm tree, which grows in tropical regions and in wet soil. The raffia palm is made of long leaves that can attain 60ft. Collectors go deep into the island to harvest the raffia palm. They strip and dry the freshly cut pale green strand and sun dry them. The dried raffia fibers then turn beige in color to yield the natural colored raffia. Part of this natural raffia is also dyed to obtain colored natural raffia.
All these processes from the raffia harvesting, to the dying and packing are done manually by the local people with respect to the environment. Governmental laws also contribute to the preservation of the raffia palm trees by limiting the harvest of raffia palm from June to October each year to allow the branches of the raffia palm trees to regrow before the start of the next harvest season. The raffia fiber is soft, pliable, strong, durable, easy to dye and biodegradable making it an excellent material for weaving totes, hats, mats and rugs. The malagasy knowledge for raphia weaving is unique.
After separating the fiber to make it thin, the weaver is making knots to set a spool. Then the rabane (name of the raffia fabric) is handwooven on a wood loom.
When Jean-Marie and Dina started the company, they didn’t find any craftsman able to produce their designs, whether at the level of quality thanfor getting volume. So they decided to create their own factory with only few sewing machines, seamstresses, a lot of determination and a well defined objective: launching a summer tote bags brand of unquestionable quality. Today, employing more than 200 people, Kaloes produces monthly 25 thousand totebags, hats and accessories. Each piece is carefully manufactured mixing malagasy and western techniques. No piece is exactly the same and any slight irregularities add to the character of unique items. Because we design and make in our factory, we have the luxury of adjusting the design as we all wear and field test the product.
Understatedly chic, Kaloes designs are constantly inspired by island lifestyle, summer and a bohemia attitude. For beach, walks, picnic, shopping or daily use, our raffia bags and hats are renowned for their quality, unique styling and colour innovation. Each season, Kaloes is creating a new collection.
Over the past decade, the brand has developed a devoted fan base of loyal customers worldwide.