Italian Lifestyle Brand Uashmama Creates Pieces That Feel Like Leather But Are Made of Paper

Uashmama began with bread bags and later expanded its product range to include other fashion and lifestyle items.Photo courtesy of Uashmama

When you think of paper bags, you think of ordinary brown totes (sans the handles) that carry our groceries. They are lightweight, extremely basic and lack the aesthetic appeal that will compel you to keep it for other uses apart from lining your trash bins. For those living in picturesque European villages like Tuscany, the paper bag is a staple utilized by locals to carry fresh produce and other delicacies. In the small town of Montecatini, more specifically, it is commonly used to carry bread.

The Capri bag by UashmamaPhoto courtesy of Uashmama

The story of a growing lifestyle sustainable lifestyle brand begins with the paper bag. In 2011, an Italian leather craftsman from Tuscany, Marco Marconi, came across cellulose fiber. It held properties similar to leather such that it could be tanned, stretched and was durable for daily use. Extensive research and product development done by Marco led to the introduction of material that felt, looked and even smelled like leather. However, this fiber was lightweight, almost like a sheet of paper. What made it more interesting was that this developed skin was washable and foldable. Marco, his wife and children later decided to refer to this material as “washable paper.” From this new product, the Marconi family thought to start their fledging company and called it Uashmama. The name was coined by the children, in reference to the washable material they had developed. The main inspiration for the brand, their mama.

Bags from Uashmala posses the same characteristics as leather–sturdy, stretchable and easy to dye–but is made of a cellulose fiber that can be washed.Photo courtesy of Uashmama


Restaurant and tratorria owners were the first to use the product created by Uashmama. Sturdy bread bags made of washable paper that were durable and had he luxe appeal of leather became the preferred way carrying various products from these food outlets. Think of it as an eco bag but with tons of European elegance. And as with all things chic and innovative, clients began to take notice. What was once a paperbag used solely for carrying food items soon took on various functions. “Customers started using the paper bag in different ways prompting the family to create different sized and colors.”

Soon, a full line of fashion bags, pouches and clutches were developed under the Uashmama brand. The company’s founders collaborated with local artisans of their Tuscan town to add details and create new silhouettes for what was later to become a full bag and fashion accessory line made of washable paper. Handbags, sling bags, totes, satchels, backpacks and pouches now complete the product range of Uashmama. The company has also expanded to go into the production of home décor pieces, still using the same innovative material that started it all.