It’s Earth Day. I have to admit that I still use styrofoam coffee cups. I often forget to bring reusable bags to the grocery store. And when I hear about eco-friendly or recycled accessories, I’m always afraid they will look like this. But lately I’ve run across some designers and brands who are making bags and jewelry from reused and recycled materials that actually look good. These designers use old textiles, recycled metal, and cast-off pieces in a way that is innovative and creative. Call me superficial, but I don’t want a bag that looks like an old tire tread.
Novella Royale has been around since 2007. The brand's handbags are made from vintage leather jackets, so no two pieces look the same. The linings are all organic and everything is handmade in Los Angeles. Prices run from $395 for a clutch to $700 for a large tote. There’s also a pretty cool photo blog on their website.
Archive Jewelry, designed by twin sisters in LA, also uses vintage materials, including pieces of chandelier chains, architectural hardware, door numbers, coins, optician lenses, and old clock hands. Some pieces are made from the original vintage items; some are re-cast in recycled brass or base metal. The best part is that they’re really affordable--most pieces are less than $100, and the most expensive thing we saw was an antique pocket watch necklace for about $300.
Louise Paul is a Danish-born designer and FIT alum who designs a clothing and handbag line called Elliot Mann. The handbags are all constructed from exotic and colorful reclaimed textiles from Asia, Nepal, and Peru. More recently, Paul scoured the American Southwest for fabrics for their next round of bags. The bags are currently offered in three shapes, all for $275.
Tomoko Igarashi makes huge necklaces out of gumball-colored beads. The beads are essentially left-overs from larger productions, and Tomoko has collected these cast-off beads for years. As a result, each necklace is a one-of-a kind piece. The necklaces can be knotted in different ways and function almost like a scarf. Her pieces are about $200.
Gilt is also offering tons of eco-friendly options today, so there's no need to wear recycled burlap.