Borneo Collection Story


One of DUA precious treasure are symbolic monochrome tote bags, carefully made at size 30 x 30 cm by local artisans in small villages at west bank of Kutai river in Borneo.Borneo2_map_english_namesBorneo is the third largest island in the world, shared by three countries : Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Indonesian people call this island as Kalimantan. Home of one of the oldest rain forest in the world and one of the biggest biodiversity as well.

We call our totes our Borneo collection, handmade by Benuaq people, a branch of Dayak tribe, who settles on the eastern side of Borneo island. They are one of the indigenous tribes of Borneo island. With generations worth of craftsmanship in weaving rattan threads into bags, used long time ago for carrying belongings, such as food and hunting tools.

borneo in making 3

preparing materials

Unfortunately for economical reason, many of the younger generation prefers to move to bigger cities. That left us with fewer craftsmen, especially the young ones whom tradition can be passed on to. Therefor we believe that only by helping this people getting a fair economical value, we might be able to preserve this traditional technique knowledge and cultural heritage. After all, with a fair reward, these craftsmen wouldn’t have to worry about the well being of their families.

The most infamous form of these bags is Anjat, an authentic decorated round and tall, that looks a bit like our modern tall backpack. Traditionally, men use the undecorated version, called gawakng lengkakng, to carry their hunting and farming tools. While women bring their clothes or food in the decorated anjat. Nowadays it is promoted more as a boho beach and urban backpack to bring towels and such.

borneo in making 1

As we determined to present this traditional craftsmanship to the modern market, fashionable daily tote bag fits such practicality and still gives you the natural yet rich in heritage feel and look. Bearing some traditional symbolic and tribal patterns which improvised by the weaver on each and every bag like no other. Abstracted pattern of flowers, leafs, fishes, dragons, and birds are also widely used and it gives extra contemporary feel to the bags.

We got a lot of questions about the origin of our nature bags. Our rattan is grown on sustainable plantation in one of the oldest forest in Borneo. Our craftsmen don’t collect wild grown rattan anymore, out of respect to the declining number of rattan variants. Cultivation is a must if we want to preserve biodiversity. Hence our bags are made out of certified premium rattan. Beside that, several local NGO’s (Non Governmental Organization) gives guidance on sustainable rattan harvesting and marketing strategies.

Some people also ask if the artisans use artificial black paint  for the bags. Actually these craftsmen first soak the rattan threads in mud for a while, and then after cleansing, they boil the threads together with Sopakng Piak leafs. These leafs give the deep black color which accentuate the bags pattern.

Using all natural products, made by generations worth of craftsmanship, DUA presents you sustainable and yet functional fashion accessories. All in all we want to help the local communities by preserving the nature too.

You’re welcome to check out DUA’s latest catalog

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