When Mara Brock Akil set out to tell the fabled stories of Black women, she broke the mold. Using her creative genius to bring these nuanced experiences to life has solidified her name in Black television lore as a legend. Now, she’s using that same creativity in another arena—leather goods.

Akil and designer Agnes Baddoo recently teamed up again to release a second installment of their limited-edition leather goods collection— this time an aged sac mini bag in natural leather and aged utility cases in very limited quantities. There were only 27 pieces of each item created, a number that has had special meaning in Akil's life before she was even born.

“This collaboration is based on me slowing down in life and figuring out my personal mission,” shares Akil.  “That mission is to live a creative life with a full heart. I've been blessed enough to be able to have fun in fashion, to shop and do the things that I want, but being a conscious person now, I was like, ‘How do I want to do that?’ It started with finding my forever bag, and my forever bag started with a tote.” 

Image: courtesy of In The Land of Mara.

When the Los Angeles native met Baddoo for the first time, she was instantly attracted to her products and the fact that they were designed by a Black woman. The two creatives later came together for something truly special—sustainable products that help other Black creatives in the process. All proceeds from the sales go to support The Writer's Colony, a program started by Akil to help up-and-coming as well as established Black writers.

"Something else that's important to me in the fullness of my heart is lifting as I climb. Raising funds for the Writer's Colony will help young Black writers launch into this business, and not just run around chasing the next transaction. I want them to transact with their voice, which will sustain them in life."

Constructed with vegetable tan natural leather, the luxury bags and cases are designed to live through generations, which Akil says is the real definition of sustainability.

“If you use quality products, they’re not going to end up in a landfill,” says Akil. “They’re going to create heirlooms and value for the next generation or person. The bag will create stories and memories. When you wear it, you will think of that person. It will bring joy and provide good use for someone else. To me, that's sustainability.”

Akil also feels that Black women’s style is a superpower and should be celebrated. 

“Style, on a basic level, is our superpower," she said. "We are beautiful, creative beings. What we put on our bodies is a part of a celebration. Having been devalued for so long, it's a way to remind ourselves that it feels good to express our individual nature, which is a very human thing to do. Sometimes, you want to express the level of value that you see in yourself. And I see myself at high-level luxury.”