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Clothes-minded

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Continuing our series on fair-trade ethnic accessories, Mad Imports is the place to get a head start on that perfect spring handbag. Mad Imports, based in Brooklyn, imports eclectic, handmade, and quite effortlessly chic items from Madagascar and Kenya. Their totes, clutches, and shoulder bags come in popping candy colors and are made from renewable natural fibers including sisal, banana-tree bark, baobab-tree bark, and raffia.

If you’re getting away to the beach soon (or just dreaming about it), the Fortaleza tote (on sale for $49) is just the right size for a trashy novel and some sunscreen. Made of woven raffia disks and topped with a graphic circular handle, it has a retro crafty classiness that pairs perfectly with a long
halter-top sundress.

To help transition to spring closer to home, the Isadora clutch ($78) features warm, dark-wood handles, a soft raffia-cotton blend in fresh colors like apple and ocean, and an embroidered-baobab tree detail. The height of green sophistication — wear it with a short khaki skirt and a bright white oxford shirt. And keep coming back to madimports.net — the spring 2008 preview includes totes embroidered with birds and flowers, and some sweet floral raffia clutches high on nostalgia.


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