Our Newest Backpacks are Made from Fique. Just What the Heck is it?

Published on 12/08/2015

  • Our Newest Backpacks are Made from Fique. Just What the Heck is it?

Fusing cutting edge design with tradition is what inspires fashion and motivates artisans around the world. Here at Cooleather, we observe and study trends, keeping our focus on the fresh and stylish. At the same time, we value tradition and the centuries old practice of mixing natural fibers and leather to create goods that will be just as timeless and classic today as they will be for generations to come.

Our latest endeavor--a handmade rucksack designed with the contemporary woman in mind--is handcrafted of sturdy cow leather, fique and love. Before we introduce the bag, let’s get to the business of finding out just what fique is.

What is fique?

Fique is a fiber derived from the leaves of the fique plant, a green and yellow leaved plant native to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Often confused with the agave plant, which is similar in appearance and usage, the fique is a species all its own, and a member of the pineapple family.

The history of fique

Fique has been a staple of the Andean region for centuries. Pre-Columbian populations used fique to make sandals, ropes, mats and other items needed for survival in their daily lives. The 17th century Dutch colonists shared the hardy plants in new locations, including India, Brazil, East Africa and Mexico, where fique spinning took hold, and the once string-like fibers of the fique plant were braided together to form garment bags, food bags, shoes, decorative items, tapestry, curtains and other items that were both functional and beautiful.

The many uses of fique

Fique is considered today to be the Columbian national fiber. It's used worldwide in everything from tapestries and mattresses to shoes and umbrellas. No longer seen as only a textile, even the science industry has taken up researching fique, most recently successfully using the fibers to remove harmful chemicals and dyes from water.

No part of the fique plant goes to waste. Ever resourceful harvesters of fique pass along its various properties to other craftspeople and industries.

  • Pulp is blended into organic fertilizer and paper.

  • Juices are added to beverages, soaps and animal foods.

  • Stems are used to make houses and ladders.

  • Bulbs are edible and frequently turned into a pickled delicacy.

  • Leaves are used medicinally for the treatment of boils.

Fique has shown itself to be a sustainable material. Completely natural, biodegradable, washable and durable, fique is a plant that keeps on giving.

Meet our latest creation

Our latest backpack, currently only available on Etsy, is handmade to order. Durable cowhide and leather provide the base and straps for this lady-inspired backpack, while fique touches adorn the lid and bottom of the rucksack to create a unique pattern of beauty. Available in five colors, this backpack fits in at the office, on day trips, at the gym, and anywhere else your day may take you.

Much like fique itself, our new bag is beautiful yet strong, and the ideal addition to any woman’s must-have bags this season.

We’re so confident you’ll love the hard work and high quality of these (and all our) bags that we extend a one year replacement guarantee on everything we sell.

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