Kōlea Designs' Sleek, Structured Clutches

Because you can always use another purse, tbh.


Jury duty notice in the mail.
Email’s down at work.
An extra two pounds on the scale.


It’s the beginning of the week and there’s a damn laundry lists of things you just can’t even handle right now. You’re finding it seriously hard trying to hold it all together.   


Time to pack it up a bit. We don’t have magical bureaucracy, I.T. or diet solutions for you, but we do have something that will carry you through the week—or rather, that you’ll carry through the week—to great results.


We’re talking about the chic little purses from Kōlea Designs that will help you get a grip on your gear in the chicest of ways. Teacher and designer Rachelle Ricardo started getting a handle on this whole bag game a couple of years ago when what started as an inspirational trip to Kate Spade left her clutching at straws when she took a gander at the price tags. Instead of losing a handle on the situation, she took matters into her own hands and started experimenting with silhouettes and fabrics in a quest to create the perfect little piece to tote along in her daily travels. She scoured the Internet for the right hardware and raided fabric shops for the perfect remnant textiles.


News spread fast and, now her brand—named after her ‘aumakua, the kōlea bird, a personal symbol of strength and guardianship after the death of grandmother—is taking off. Ricardo started making purses for friends and craft fair-goers, who were charmed by the signature structured styles—a departure from the typical slouchy, boho zipper clutches you see in the Islands. Ricardo favors upcycling vintage and scrap material for a unique, artsy feel. Find vibrant aloha prints, charming retro patterns and fresh-feeling geometrics in stores now, or look out for a metallic-print line in the coming months, and a collection of vintage kimono pieces in late spring.


As for the rest of the week? You’ve got it in the bag.


$59–$89, available at Green Mountain, 2819 Ka‘onawai Place, and 'Ōiwi Ocean Gear, Ward Village Shops, 263-7770.