Globalization has led to homogenization: Everything looks like everything else...boring.
Not so when it comes to Echoes in the Attic tote bags and purses. These one-of-a-kind designs are created purse by purse from exquisite reclaimed fabrics - and at an affordable price, too. Environmental chic? If this is what it looks like, I'm in.
What is it? The unique purses and tote bags are made by hand in Canada of fabrics leftover from manufacturing and designer samples. The materials - recycled from upscale companies like Robert Allen Fabrics and Ethan Allen Furniture - are so high end it's hard to imagine that they were once destined for the landfill. The product line includes "hipster" purses big enough for keys, cosmetics, a wallet and a brush; plus diaper, beach, and tote bags when you need to carry more stuff.
What I like: What immediately jumped out at me was the quality of the "hipster" bag I received as a review sample. Even though the purse is made from "vegan" leather, it feels luxurious. And, at $39, I love the price. That the bags are made using materials that otherwise would be thrown away is another environmental plus. It was packaged simply in one sheet of tissue paper that can be recycled and mailed in a regular envelope.
What could be improved? The Echoes website is a bit challenging to navigate, making it clumsy to move from the product pages to the online store and back again. Also, in-store distribution right now is limited to Canada, though the bags can easily be bought online. Let's hope some smart retailers in the U.S. discover Echoes and stock up their shelves. Also, I'd like more information about the company's own business practices. How many bags is it producing every year - and how much waste is it diverting from the trash bin as a result? Does Echoes power its production facilities with wind or solar? How does it recycle its own leftovers, if at all? It's terrific that the company is based in North America; does it support any charities, especially in its own community? What motivated the company's two women owners to get their business off the ground?