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DESIGNER OF THE DAY

Maria-Paula Herrera

MAPA Collective

MAPA Collective is a timeless and luxurious collection of exotic leather handbags and accessories handmade in Colombia. The founder, Maria-Paula Herrera, was born in the United States to Colombian parents. On her frequent travels to Bogota, Paula met artisans that are highly specialized in the art that is exotic leather craftsmanship. Inspired by their techniques, she set out to become a bridge between them and the broader fashion market. MAPA Collective designs focus on the beauty of exotic leather - the nature of the material results in no two handbags being the same.
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MAPA Collective, founded by Maria-Paula Herrera, is a timeless and luxurious collection of exotic leather handbags and accessories handmade in Colombia. The unique designs are handcrafted from genuine crocodile, exotic skins and natural leathers in the company’s Bogota studio. Each piece bears the serial number designated by Colombia’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, ensuring the legal and sustainable use of non-endangered species.

MAPA Collective designs are versatile and multi-functional, and seamlessly transition from day to night and formal to informal. The nature of the materials results in no two handbags being the same – the natural patterns on each skin are unique and contribute to the finished look of each product.

After Paula received her MBA at the Wharton School (UPenn), she set out to start a company that combined her interest in fashion and Latin America. Her frequent trips to see family in Colombia led her artisans who were highly specialized in exotic leather craftsmanship. Recognizing their talent, she knew she wanted to extend their work to a broader market.

All MAPA Collective handbags are handmade in Colombia by artisans that are highly specialized in the art that is exotic leather craftsmanship. Although Paula does not have a technical design background, she employs a great team that is able to turn her sketches into beautiful works of art. The inspiration for MAPA Collective comes from primarily two places. One is from typical Colombian craftsmanship, such as the Mochila or the Carriel – designs that have existed in Colombia for many generations, but with a stylistic spin. The second source of inspiration is the material itself – exotic leather is full of textures that are specific to each animal, making each bag unique in its own right.

All MAPA Collective handbags are handmade using the highest quality exotic leather, including genuine crocodile and genuine python. The skins are dyed-to-order and production is done in limited quantities. Upon receiving the materials, each piece is cut and sewn to highlight its best features, letting the exotic leather be the star in the design. All MAPA pieces are meant to be mixed and matched, and can seamlessly take a woman from an everyday casual look to evening glam.

MAPA Collective seeks to change the way exotic leather is currently worn. We believe that genuine crocodile should not be reserved solely for a special night out, but rather should be a key part of every woman’s wardrobe. The beauty of the materials can instantly elevate your look whether it be casual or elegant. By working directly with our manufacturers, MAPA Collective is able to more competitively price our merchandise, compared to luxury brands using comparable materials. Plus, a crocodile handbag lasts a lifetime, and only gets better with age.

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