TRUSS was founded by Elise Durbecq and Gillian Tozer in an effort to bring artisanal craft to the world of luxury handbags. With extensive backgrounds in the fashion industry, Elise and Gillian met while working at Opening Ceremony in New York and quickly realized their mutual passions for fashion, culture, and social impact. While on a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, the two were inspired by the traditional hand-woven totes they found in local marketplaces, and TRUSS was born. TRUSS works to fuse traditional craftsmanship with modernization, bridging the gap between artisanal communities in Mexico and the global luxury marketplace.
TRUSS was built upon the value of preserving artisanal craft and culture. Each beaded bag is handcrafted and inspired by Huichol artisans, using a minimum of 4,000 glass beads that are imported from the Czech Republic. Rural artisans are often forced to migrate from their native towns and move to big cities, leaving their traditional crafting techniques behind. TRUSS works with the Huichol artisans as a commitment to preserving these traditions. Master-weaver Don Lupe weaves each leather/plastic bag using locally-sourced leather from Leon, Mexico. These bags, as well as the brand’s original plastic bags, are hand-woven using a box loom, a tradition technique passed down from generation to generation. TRUSS ensures each worker is well-paid and works hard in an effort to stimulate the economy of local communities.
“Being a woman is the privilege to be able to give life to another human. It’s the fine line between the strength and vulnerability that we carry within ourselves. It’s the ability to take care of many things at the same time. It’s to be competitive at the same level as men. I am an empowered woman because I like helping others, I like being altruistic and always with a positive attitude even in the worst times." - Wendy (pictured below), Head of TRUSS' Workshop in Oaxaca City
As part of its mission to empower young women, TRUSS supports Fondo Guadalupe Musalem (FGM): a foundation that educates and empowers young Oaxacan women so that they are able to achieve personal development and become leaders within their community. FGM provides these young women with scholarship opportunities to support their studies as well as medical check-ups to ensure mental and physical health. TRUSS has committed to sending at least two of these young women to school each year, in addition to providing curriculum programming and mentorship opportunities.