Must-Have Item: The Rafé New York "Amanda" Tote Bag

It's not every day someone names a bag after you. Thanks to Rafé Totengco, today's Amanda Hearst's day.

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It's not every day that someone names a bag after you, so you can imagine my shock (and excitement!) at finding out that designer Rafé Totengco designed the "Amanda" tote from his Spring/Summer collection with me in mind!

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I met Rafé at the 2010 CFDA Awards, to which I wore his clutch. Rafé is really good friends with Peter Som, my handsome date for the evening, and the three of us spent most of the night laughing and chatting together.

And now, here I am, wearing one of his designs again, except this time, it carries my name! I must say, I think the coolest part of the bag is the story behind it. The fabric (called T'nalak) is hand-woven by women of the T'boli tribe, an indigenous group from the Philippines, Rafé's homeland. The craft has been passed down for generations, and the ladies work with old looms that their great-grandmothers used. All the dyes are natural and each pattern is different. So, each bag has its own life and identity, and I feel proud to support these women and their culture by simply buying one of their creations.

The "Amanda" tote comes in three variations (from left to right): the New York "Amanda Sequins" Tote, the New York "Amanda - Ikat" tote, and the New York "Amanda" Tote. They are available on Rafé's website or nordstrom.com. I hope you all love them as much as I do!

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