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Chloe Jackman Photography Belori Handbags

Say Hello to Maya from the Motherland

The Tote Bag from The Women of the Motherland

Olori offers gorgeous, high-quality handbags that showcase the beauty of African cultures whilst empowering women. Incorporating traditional African fabric into modern design, our products invite women all over the world to experience the beauty and the culture of Africa through an emphasis on craftsmanship, heritage, and legacy. There is more to Africa than the world has seen and we are proud to be sharing a different narrative, a beautiful story of Africa on the world’s stage. Our production process empowers local, women-owned businesses in Africa, and every purchase makes quality education accessible to girls in under-served African communities.

During the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, we got a lot of requests to design a bag with our handwoven Aso-oke fabrics made by artisans in the motherland but representing the colors of the BLM movement. One of them read:

As descendants of enslaved Africans here in the US, we have been in the struggle for 450+ years. The colors of the banner symbolic of our struggle are red, black, and green. I personally would purchase a bag with our banner colors and I believe many others from here would as well. It would mean even more coming from skilled craftsmen on the continent that many of us have not seen but hold close to our hearts - because it is in our DNA. Please consider creating such a bag to connect with and honor the legacy, courage, and resilience of the sisters here. 

We are excited to unveil this new design in honor of Black History Month. The Maya tote is made with hand-woven aso-oke from Nigeria. Aso-oke, which translates to “top-cloth” in English, is a traditional African fabric worn by the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is hand-woven by local artisans using centuries-old techniques that have been passed down from one generation to another. We source the fabric used in our products exclusively from women-owned businesses in Nigeria. Aso-oke is typically worn at weddings and other important ceremonies. And now, women all over the world can carry these special fabrics every day in our bags. 

The Maya tote is perfect for errands and days when you're on the go. It has a spacious compartment and an internal pocket to keep small items separate. You can hold it by the two top handles, or style it crossbody with the detachable strap when you need to go hands-free.

“Red, green, and black represent a movement's values and aspirations. They're symbolic of the hope, resilience, courage, and grit of black people in the United States. This is why we're proud to present the Maya Tote, made with hand-woven aso-oke from the motherland in the colors of the BLM movement,” said Olori Founder, Tomide Awe.

$10 from every bag sold this month will go towards supporting Color of Change, a Black non-profit organization that works to build power for Black communities and advance solutions for racial justice.

Olori is proud to partner with organizations like The Nile List, which are focused on showcasing Black businesses and their offerings; find Olori on The Nile List here. You can learn more about Olori on our website and our Instagram page.

Tomide Awe is the founder of Olori. She was raised in Nigeria, and after moving to England to study, the seed for Olori was planted when her friends from diverse backgrounds started to admire her African attire. Over the years, the desire to showcase the beauty of Africa and its cultures grew and she was inspired to merge her love for fashion and her African heritage with her mission of empowerment; this became Olori. Olori offers gorgeous African-inspired handbags that celebrate culture & heritage, whilst empowering women.


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