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The Eco Message Is in the Bag, Part I

From A to Z and across the globe are earth-friendly status bags for every imaginable purpose. I start with Alchemy Goods where founder Eli Reich combined his green lifestyle with a misfortune in Seattle. His stolen messenger bag story inspired him to become an accessory designer who combines bicycle inner tubes, car seat belts, and billboard vinyl.

The company was honored to display their messenger bag beginning May 15th at the Sustainable Fashion Symposium in The Design Museum of University of California at Davis, which runs until July 13th, 2008. So exciting that a blog was created just for the event.

I’ve been told that artistic Seattleites in the Emerald City are famed for introducing grunge music, and that the craze made unkempt appearances a trend. This cool unisex bag can style you either way; vogue or grunge!

Well speaking of messenger bags, Artisan Gear in Oregon offers a mini version made of hemp. Being an AG backpack owner, I understand why their craftsmanship brings awards. This one is unisex, compartmental, and with optional shoulder strap. Check out the other styles. All so hemp-practical and handsome!

Larry Duprey manages his in Toronto, yet he offers bags from everywhere. Some are constructed in the Philippines, some Vietnam, and now India. I didn’t mean to get obsessed with messenger styles, but this one is so cool, made from used rice bags and lined with recycled aluminum. It features multi compartments and a long adjustable over-the-shoulder webbed strap. The BaZura shop even sells a bowling bag with all kinds of other accessories.

English Retreads is in Colorado where founder and designer Heather English gained inspiration from floating down Boulder Creek on an inner tube. One of her first bags in 2001 is still a classic, named Model T, that has seatbelt straps.

Goóc, which means “your roots” in its home country of Brazil, inspires customers to embrace nature’s laws of imperfection and reuse. They recycle canvas tarpaulins into stylish bags with a style that is urban chic, original and unconventional. No website until 2007 and already have representation in 12 countries. The story of founder and Vietnam refuge Thai Q is amazing.


My favorite is the Funky Kewl, designed for women with exposed outer seams, a small zippered pocket and attached key ring. Indeed, recycled waterproof canvas never looked so stylish before.





Appropriately named HER Design, Helen E. Riegle founded the company in Massachusetts 2004. Bag materials are hemp, organic cotton, recycled PET, treetap, and cradle-to-cradle certified wool. Sensuede, a/k/a Microsuede, is made from 100% recycled fibers and looks as terrific as it sounds. The Poppy is precious. Each item is inspired by nature with a clear goal to promote greener living with contemporary style. That’s connected Helen to a celebrity clientele.

Well we traveled far, but haven’t passed half the alphabet. So, to be continued. Meanwhile, respond if you have any trouble finding any of these wonderful items. Or better yet, share your comment if you own one of these fab bags!

Stay tuned …

Written by Delia Montgomery

I am Delia, d/b/a Chic Eco on, and established myself as an eco fashion guru by learning "who makes what in the world of environmental fashion and design."

Enjoy reading some of my freelance writing about environmental design, fashion and art -- from both consumer and supplier perspectives. You may notice I focus most on individual eco designers, movers and shakers.

From sustainable fashion apparel to paint and flooring, discoveries are a rush. I get my kicks this way. I also offer sales representation of earth-friendly designed products for wholesale buyers. Retailers may take advantage of my services with factory-direct pricing. Spend less time sourcing and prevent green-washed purchases!

My other forte is connecting suppliers with business-to-business tools. Aspects of my business vary with consulting services while I'm proud to be the aide that embraces unique and innovative gigs.

I'm originally a Kentucky Blue Grass gal who relocated to Maui early 2006 and the tropical Puna District of Big Island, Hawaii late 2007. Walk the talk is my motto here.

Early 2009 I constructed a yurt home office in a semi-urban setting on a tiny lot. My water comes from the sky, contained in a catchment that's not likely to dry in this rain forest. The electric is designed for solar conversion. I grow about 30% of my food organically, compost, and recycle to the hilt. Permaculture with a full eco system is my gardening style.

In fact, gardening is my ultimate joy. I seek gigs like design, weeding and planting between other jobs. My love is Hawai'i which has more climate zones than any state. There are frequent earthquakes here, typically under a 3.0 magnitude, and I happen to dig the vibrations. It's a wonderful simple life in paradise. As I grow older and wiser, I become more and more grateful.


Sunsmart :: Soleo Organic Sunscreen SPF30

The Eco Message Is in the Bag, Part II