08 June 2010
Bags With A Past
Like a proud mom, I set my favorite hand bag on the coffee shop counter. As I foraged threw my ole friend for some spare change for a morning joe, the very patient cashier complimented, "What a great vintage find!" Any compliment on a vintage find is usually a great start to my day, which would have been today, if I hadn't purchased my great, slouchy doctors bag last year, brand new. I could almost hear it whimper as I examined its well-loved shape beginning to crack and peal away. My favorite classic bag had become something of an old withering hag. I have never been one to replace an old friend with something new…..unless it is something really fabulous.
With upcycling on my mind from the latest ecoCouture post, I was searching the web for something new when I came across a great accessories line, Hoakon loves Helga. The Canadian designer, Andi Strand claims she’s, "obsessed with anything vintage", from her unique line name inspired by her grandparents to the her vintage-made-new bags. The Hoakon/Helga designer has a background in Fine Arts and Textiles and is also the editor and founder of online magazine, Antler Magazine. The magazine features different designers from all over the world who have the same flair for vintage and eco fashion. Antlermag is full of great editorials with vibrant fashion photography.
At Hoakon/Helga, Strand combines vintage and recycled materials to create chic, “new” eco friendly bags and clutches. For the designer's current collection, she hunts through thrift stores and vintage shops searching for vintage leather jackets that have been tossed aside as the base for her designs. She creates a variety of bags with similar styles and silhouettes; however, because of the nature of her design process, each bag is unique with its own identity. Each jacket has its own details which the designer tries to incorporate into her own bag designs. Strand says that she "strives to achieve a respect for the past and future using sustainable approaches." Each bag is one-of-a-kind with different colors and patterns as well as unique shapes and pocket styles. The bags and clutches range in price from $25 for a simple clutch to $129 for some of the larger more detailed bags.
While many of these eco friendly accessories might not be an option for the vegan customer, they are great for people who are trying to be cautious about their fashion impact on the environment. For those that don’t like the leather, Hoakon/Helga has a selection of bags made from recycled denim and other materials. Pair one of the “Furrow” totes from Hoakon/Helga with the Jonano “Bloom Puzzle” dress and you have a perfect, completely eco-friendly, day to night look.
I’m afraid I may have to give my sweet, old doctor’s bag a rest for a bit in exchange for something that was made to weather my busy days…and when a cashier commends my find I will thank her with a smile.