Monday, 21 January 2013

Rebagz is Changing the World With Style

Once I may have believed that humanitarian work and handbags had little to nothing in common - but these days I'm constantly amazed and inspired by the ways in which fashion can be used for good. The story of award-winning eco-label Rebagz and the passion of its Creator Marty Stevens-Heebner is a fabulous case in point. I hope you enjoy my exclusive interview!

Q. What inspired you to create this ethical line of stylish bags?

I was raised to recycle, plus I did humanitarian work in Chiapas, Mexico in the aftermath of the Zapatista Rebellion.  That’s where I first learned about fair trade (silly, naïve little me thought that’s the normal way of doing business).  We’d go into the indigenous villages where everything had a second life, and often a third and a fourth life beyond that.  Very inspiring!

Marty Stevens-Heebner, President & Creator of Rebagz Handbags

Q. How would you describe the Rebagz design aesthetic in 10 words or less?

Beautifully designed bags that are kind to people, animals and the planet (I know it’s 12 words but I’m gabby). 

This Off the Cuff Wristlet in Sweet Lilac looks delicious!

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what makes Rebagz an environmentally friendly fashion choice?

All our handbags are made using recycled materials, including recycled paper, rice sacks, plastic and juice packs.  They’re also made using fair labor – I’ve visited the Philippines myself several times to ensure that the workers are paid and treated fairly.  We even carry Green America’s Seal ofApproval, as well as PETA’s Vegan badge.

How cute is this Stallion Life is a Circle bag?
Q. What impacts has Rebagz had in the lives of its workers in the Philippines? 

We provide good paying jobs in pleasant working environments for the people – mostly women – who make our bags.  We’re extremely proud of that.

I really appreciate the amazing range of colours available in the eclectic Rebagz range, such as this Tap on the Shoulder bag in Cockatoo

Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?

Stella McCartney and Eco-Skin’s Sandy Skinner in apparel, Josie Maran and Jane Iredale with their eponymous cosmetics lines.

I'm loving the retro-flavour of the Rebagz Cubic Clutch!

Q. Do you feel that ethical fashion design is becoming more mainstream?

Absolutely.  It’s changed dramatically in the 5 years since I launched Rebagz®.

Q. What is your favourite Rebagz bag right now and why?

No fair – that’s like asking me to choose which child (or, in my case, dog) is my favourite!  Right now I’m carrying our Prima Tote with a Small Talk Clutch tucked inside it to hold odds and ends.

This Fade to Black Aubergine Prima Tote is so chic - want!!!
My pick of the Small Talk Clutch prints is definitely the zebra!

Q. What does the future hold for Rebagz?

We’re always thinking about what the next evolution will be.  In accessories, it seems all about making bags that accommodate every tech gadge imaginable!

You can also connect with Rebagz via Facebook, Twitter, PinterestPolyvore and their Blog!

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