January 7, 2008

Featured designer: Ashley Watson

Now that Canada's dollar has surpassed ours in value, the US is ripe to develop a national inferiority complex. Their rock bands are better than ours, and their recycled leather handbags are beyond the pale of anything I've seen Stateside. Vancouver-based designer Ashley Watson interned for Libertine in New York before heading home to the cold north to develop her line of bags made from vintage leather jackets. You know, all those pleated-back, elastic-waist monstrosities that dangle from the Salvation Army racks as a tragic monument to wasted cattle? Well, Watson's line is a great instance of recycled being better than new: Not only are her bags sharp and utterly up-to-date, the details they incorporate from the original jackets mean that each one is unique -- and has plenty of handy pockets. I checked them out the other day at Brooklyn handmade haven Cog & Pearl, and they more than live up to the hype.

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