Bea Valdes, a young designer from the Philippines, is a bead aficionado who's quickly made her mark in the fashion world with her flashy beaded bags and emphasis on craft. Check out some of her amazing work here.
Valdes, who was born into a family of jewelers, comes from Manila. She left there to study interior design in London, and returned to the Philippines to work in 1997.
Deciding to make her beadwork hobby her profession, Valdes launched her label in 2004 in the Philippines.
Oshima Clutch Bag made of leather and crystal beads
Valdes, who creates all of the designs, works with the artisans on new ideas and techniques. Each bag is made by Filipino artisans at Valdes' Manila studio and can take up to eight weeks to complete. Valdes has over 40 craftspeople working for her.
An interesting angle is that Bea's mother manages the artisans and Bea's sister helps to run the business, aiming to get Valdes's work noticed by internatonal fashion magazines and sold at some big retailers, like Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Besides the variety of appealing designs, I like that Valdes is more interested in the craft and design than churning out bags. She explains: "The nature of our work isn't geared towards thousands of pieces, but a few that are unique." Spoken like a true wearable artist!
You can see more at Couture Lab.