Sheila Odessey’s satchels, purses, and clutches may be made from discarded plastic bags, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anything remotely trashy about them. Sleek, polished, and dare we say it, sophisticated, Odessey’s eponymous range of carryalls is everything the cheap disposable isn’t.
LIFE IN PLASTIC
The self-confessed scavenger and hoarder started her line in 2009 after learning that American toss out roughly 100 billion plastic bags each year. Yet only 1 percent of them ever see a second life. “It costs more money to recycle a bag than to produce one, so there is no financial incentive to repurposing plastic,” she says. “My solution: turn this trash into trendy textiles.”
American toss out roughly 100 billion plastic bags each year, yet only 1 percent are recycled.
After cutting the bags into strips, Odessey weaves the pieces into a raffia-like fabric using a vintage loom. She lets the bag’s individual color and graphics dictate the final character of the product, whether it’s a capacious messenger or a diminutive cosmetics pouch. But although the looming process masks the identity of each bag’s source material, Odessey doesn’t try to hide it, either. One of her clutches brandishes its garment-cloaking origin with pride, with the words “this bag is not a toy” in full display.