Not Just Pretty : Sustainable Style

April 23, 2008

Eco-handbags : High-Fashion/Low Impact

Ashley Watson Murre Bag

Ashley Watson Murre Bag

Bags for a Green Planet

“Not so long ago the words “environmentally friendly bag” referred solely to sacks (usually brown) to carry organic groceries. Today, (these eco-friendly bags) are just one of the coveted fashion items that are planet-friendly.  In fact, they started the trend — or at least gave it a big boost.

Up-and-coming designers using environmental practices and products found themselves on the profitable edge of a major trend. Especially among those who design bags — a status staple item.
Vancouver’s Ashley Watson, 29, started making her coveted recycled leather bags by fluke a few years ago.
“I was at my parents’, and had this idea for a bag but was really impatient so I cut up one of my dad’s old leather jackets and made it,” says Watson. Her slouchy bright bags — made from leather jackets she finds at charity thrift stores — coincided with the boho and eco trends in fashion.
She started out visiting socially conscious boutiques in person — like Victoria’s Not Just Pretty on Fort Street, which still carries her bags and accessories.
Now her bag design business is a full-time job. Her edgy and fashionable bags — think bright 1980s leather, zippers and pockets — have been featured in Nylon, New York, Flare, Fashion, Lou Lou and Wish magazines, and the Today Show.
“We’ve had our store for four years now and even in that time we’ve seen so many more designers emerge using environmental materials,” says Pam Skelton, owner of Not Just Pretty. She carries several lines of eco-handbags, from those made with recycled materials like billboards and old posters to those made with organic fibres.

Sparrow Handbags Lola Bag

Sparrow Handbags Lola Bag

One of the latter is Sparrow Handbags by Victoria designer Marlena Maikranz-Bryce. The 28-year-old started her line last year after a break from the fashion design business to work for her family’s company, Victoria Signs. …” for the whole article, please see Times Colonist : Tuesday, April 22, 2008



  1. Congratulations for your blog and for this amazing article! Wish you the best!

    Comment by spasozen — July 28, 2008 @ 6:37 am

  2. […] bookmarking services. Let’s promote each other, as well as this blog carnival. Elisa presents Eco-bags : High-Fashion/Low Impact « Not Just Pretty : Sustainable Style posted at Not Just Pretty : Sustainable Style. Elisa says, “Like handbags? You’ll LOVE these […]

    Pingback by All Things Eco Blog Carnival Volume Thirteen | Focus — August 19, 2008 @ 12:14 am

  3. While all of us at applaud eco-forward fashions and commitments, we have to point out that the registered trademark and brand “ecobags” and the term “eco-bag” didn’t exist before we created it and brought it to market in 1989. We therefore ask that you do not use “ecobags” generically as it is a brand that that stands as much for the bags we produce as to the sustainable practices used in their manufacture.
    Thank you for listening.

    Comment by Sharon — September 29, 2008 @ 9:52 pm

  4. Hi Sharon:
    Thank you for informing us of your trademark. I changed the title and text of this blog article.

    Best Wishes!

    Comment by notjustpretty — September 30, 2008 @ 12:54 am

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