Indie designers will parade their pretty purses
This season, bags are huge. With Thread making its fourth appearance in Seattle on Sunday, we checked in with a handbagful of the 70 independent designers...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Thread Show: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at Fremont Studios, 155 N. 35th St., Seattle. Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. For tickets and information: www.threadshow.com/seattle.
This season, bags are huge — and we don't mean in a Mary-Kate-Olsen-could-fit-inside kind of way. Handbags as an accessory have enjoyed "it" status since Hollywood starlets started flaunting their Balenciagas in the pages of Us Weekly, but apparently they are now big enough to (figuratively) eclipse an entire outfit.
"The last three seasons, jewelry has been the dominator. Now jewelry is starting to dip off, and the bag is the next thing," declares Alex Matthews, director of Thread, a traveling showcase for independent fashion designers in West Coast cities including San Francisco, San Diego and Las Vegas.
"It's always been there, but it was more of an accessory, an enhancement. Now the bag is becoming the centerpiece of the outfit. People are going to be dressing around their bags."
(Next season: Burlap bags are the Next Big Thing as bags become the outfit! You heard it here first.)
With Thread making its fourth appearance in Seattle on Sunday, we checked in with a handbagful of the 70 independent designers expected at Fremont Studios. For a complete list of participating clothing and accessory designers, visit www.threadshow.com/seattle.
A little bag will do ya
Her Web site is SabrinaLovesBags.com, and Seattle handbag designer Sabrina Love Rodriguez readily confesses to a lifelong weakness for a smartly turned-out accessory.
"Bags have always been my shoes," Rodriguez says. "It's easy to use a bag as a fun pop and piece of pizazz to an otherwise conservative outfit. The dress code in Seattle is definitely more relaxed, and I think a bag is a way to express yourself and add a little fun."
The former stylist and costume-designer creates vintage-inspired clutches in patent leather with a nod to old Hollywood glamour. The idea being: Less is more. "I really believe in keeping things simple," she says. "In a way, carrying a smaller bag forces you to simplify and carry the necessities. A lot of women don't believe you can fit your life into a clutch."
And if you happen to be one of those women, look at it this way — you can always just use the clutch as a wallet. Sabrina Love Handbags retail for about $200-$230, but the designer will have a selection of clutches with minor defects on sale for up to 40 percent off at the Thread show.
Carryin' o' the green
At Alchemy Goods, you get the feeling you're not just investing in a bag — rather, a way of life. The Seattle company's recycled messenger bags deliver a message, or at least a motto: turning useless into useful.
"I think more and more people are voting with their dollars. They are using something like a bag to show their values," says company founder Eli Reich. "When people decide to buy our bags, they are making a statement that locally made is important to them and that the environment is important to them."
Plus, bags made from recycled inner tubes and old seat-belt straps are fun to look at and are surefire conversation starters — "Is that a used bicycle tube, or are you just glad to see me?" — so really, do you need another excuse to shop? Well, here's one more: "I think more and more people are carrying things, and if you have to carry things, why not put it in a good-looking bag?" Reich says. "People have laptops, people have lunch and people who will be riding our light-rail system soon will be commuting to work." ($138-$148, www.alchemygoods.com)
A dry sensibility
The laptop says modern-professional, but the laptop bag screams retro-fabulous. And in the Pacific Northwest tradition, it manages to be both practical and stylish.
"I'm always thinking about the waterproof factor because it rains constantly here," says Michelle Kline, Portland-based creator of Snap Design. "Personally, I need a bag that can take some schlepping around in the rain."
After the downpour this week, don't we all?
Kline produces the no-frills, unisex vinyl laptop bags using bright colors and geometric shapes. In other words: A bright spot in an otherwise dreary, winter day. ($84-$104, www.snapcatalog.com).
Hipness for your hips
A fanny pack by any other name? Designer Maggie Lee prefers Hipbagz. With a Z. That's right. "The word fanny pack is so laden with negative connotations, so I decided to give them a new name," says the L.A.-based Lee. "They really are a whole new thing, anyway. These are really different."
Believe it or not: Hipbagz are actually stylish and don't resemble anything worn by your average tourist. Lee came up with the idea when her mom insisted that she wear a fanny pack on a trip to Barcelona.
"I was like, I am not doing that. I can't be in a fashionable place wearing a fanny pack," she recalls. Finding a gap — more like a canyon — in the fashionable-fanny-pack market, Lee decided to fill it. Her line of leather, detachable Hipbagz launched at Fashion Week in Los Angeles this year and is available for $109-$169 (www.magalidesigns.com).
The designer herself frequently finds use for the bags even when she's not traveling abroad: "There were probably four days in a row where I used one — I was going to Vegas one time, and then I was going to a concert and didn't want to stuff my pockets. I figured there are other people who are looking for this kind of item. ... PDAs are really big now, and people want them on their body." Giving a whole new meaning to "hands-free device."
Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2376 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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