A little while ago Sonrisa began working on this newest collection of bags. I'll let you get the skinny directly from her, but I've gotta say, I think these bags are incredibly well-designed and stitched. She alludes to it a bit in her summary, but each flap and pocket is constructed of several pieces of salvaged denim. They are arranged in a way that might be missed by the casual observer, but much like your favorite pair of jeans, little details become more and more apparent the more time you spend with them. Anyway, taken directly from designer Sonrisa Rodriguez:
"I was about to go on tour with my friend’s band and I needed to make myself a backpack for traveling. I kept putting the project off because I wasn’t sure what color cordura I wanted to use, and if I even wanted to bother making it custom in some way. I wanted a colorway that could go with anything I chose to wear without being too simple or safe. Dismissing the idea of a practical all black bag as the easy way out and a heavily appliquéd flap as beyond my skill level, I started considering using alternate materials in lieu of cordura. A thorough raid of my home fabric stash made me quickly realize that I had a disproportionate amount of denim scraps at my disposal in the form of sleeves, pant legs, and the eventual fabric source for my soon-to-be midpack: an intact pair of grey stonewashed jeans. I had accidentally stumbled upon an exciting bag idea!"
"If I were to name a source of inspiration for me in the creation of this series I would have to point to the New York street fashions of my youth. I am a child of the 80's and was a kid in the early 90's so I may have a slight bias towards that era, but I can honestly say that the creativity I was exposed to as a kid by walking down the streets of my neighborhood has never been surpassed. Anyone who came up during that time can no doubt remember denim playing a large part in their wardrobe, whether it was in the form of a favorite pair of jeans, overalls, or jacket. It was omnipresent and more than a bit gratuitous, but one thing it had on its side was durability. Many of the clothing supplied for this line could very well be a favorite skirt of yours from when you were eight, its denim barely worn through and strong as ever after all these years."
"When I first started working on the series, I went back to my personal fabric supply and found some salvaged pieces that I could use, but soon realized that I needed much more material. My good friend Jesse has an Etsy store where she sells vintage clothing and makes regular runs to thrift stores outside of the city to stock her store. When I told her about the denim series I was working on, she offered to supply me with the clothing I needed. I raided her stock and found a virtual denim goldmine, each piece’s fabric unique in its appearance. I’m lucky to have found a reliable supplier without any difficulty and even more so to have such quality source material at my disposal."
"The decision to make only the flaps and pockets of each bag in the line from salvaged denim came about for several reasons. The source material for each bag is an individual article of clothing, mostly likely a skirt or a pair of jeans, neither being large enough to yield enough fabric for an entire bag. Regardless of the limited fabric there is to work with, my initial feelings about the original backpack I made for myself still apply to the bags I make for this line. I want each bag to have a kind of subdued individuality. Black, grey or blue treated denim paired with black or brown cordura is as complimentary to one’s wardrobe as the pair of jeans you wear on a daily basis without seeming over the top or matchy. "
"The most surprising thing I’ve discovered about using salvaged denim clothing is the how grateful I am to be able to incorporate their seams in to the design of the bag. They add an interesting symmetry and texturized feeling to the final product that a plain seamless flap or pocket would lack. Seams also serve as a reminder that the fabric used once had another purpose altogether, recalling the article of clothing it once was in a far more subtle--and in my opinion, less tacky--way than the use of an intact back pocket or waist band from a pair of jeans."
"Some could easily write off acid and stonewashed denim as relics, one of the many ghosts of far-gone fads that should have never been resurrected. Treated denim, like so many trends of our recent fashion past, should be judged only on its potential to be overdone. With this series I hope to show that there is a subtle, modern-classic quality to treated denim and that quality alone should prevent it from being written off as yet another outdated look."
Sonrisa's Denim Collection is available here, and is being updated to include almost all of our current bag sizes. Some models also feature custom denim messenger pads!