ETHNi-CITY - A BAG STORY
Valérie Cordier's love for travel took her from France to Vietnam 14 years ago. After a few short months, this captivating country became her home.
“As I often say, I didn’t choose Vietnam – Vietnam chose me,” Valerie says. “When I first came it was for a six-month internship, and I’ve been here 14 years.”
Valerie is now one of Vietnam's most loved bag designers. Her original designs integrate traditional fabrics made by ethnic groups of northern Vietnam with leather that she sources herself. She loves to upcycle everyday materials such as food packaging or animal feed bags which she selects, washes and hand-paints to give them a new lease of life. After her meticulous process of personal sourcing of materials, sketching, photographing and sampling, Valerie works with the craftspeople in her workshop just outside Hanoi to hand make each exquisite bag or wallet. Every Bag has a past and with the wearer, it has its future.
Valerie sees her beautiful bags as an invitation to travel. Each creation has its own distinct personality inspired by a French designer background, and a new life in Vietnam.
“A friend told me that discovery is an accident that bursts into a prepared mind,” she says. “This is exactly how I feel about designs for bags. I open my mind and make myself available for exploring, without following a plan. I give free rein to the possibilities, and then anything can inspire me.”