If you were to write a book about die-hard New Englander and bag designer Alice Saunders, might we suggest the title From Farm to Fashion? “I was doing organic farm and landscaping work—something I thought I would be doing for the rest of my life,” says Alice. “It was a seasonal job, so the winter break gave me ample time to work on projects.” One of these cold-weather undertakings: sewing up small bags and pouches for friends.
But the day she discovered a WWII-era duffle while fishing through a flea market in Massachusetts in 2008 shifted her focus. “It hit me that I could take the bag apart and use the beautiful, worn-in canvas to make a new bag I would want to carry around all day,” explains the Boston-based designer. Bam: Forestbound was born.
Five years later, Alice is still in love with that first score and the meaning it holds for her—both of her grandfathers served in WWII and her dad in Vietnam. “It’s pretty incredible to create bags that let people literally hold a piece of history over their arm,” says Alice, who has since sourced material from military bed rolls, tents, cots, stretchers, and U.S. Navy denim barracks bags as well. “I spend a lot of time in my studio taking apart the bags and thinking about the soldiers who carried them. I say a thank you every time I start cutting.” —alisha prakash
Behind The Scenes
Alice Saunders’s Best (Under-the-Radar) Sources for Crazy-Good Materials A flea market fanatic’s dream come true.“My favorite part of my job is being able to spend so much time hunting for fabrics. That’s really the core of Forestbound—the textiles themselves,” says Alice Saunders, the designer behind the so-sick bag line. “The fact that going to the flea market every weekend is a crucial part of my job is something I can’t complain about. Being self-employed means that it’s easy to take a Friday morning off in order to be the first in line at the good estate sale... READ MORE »
The 6 Coolest Things in Alice Saunders’s Studio They’re nearly as rad as the designer herself.Working from home has its obvious perks—emailing in your PJs, blasting Britney, and steering clear of god-awful fluorescent office lighting. But getting to the office is cake when you have a studio space as amazing as the one Alice Saunders, the rock-star designer behind the utilitarian-cool line Forestbound, shares with another bag maker, Julia Okun of Rennes. Check out a half dozen of the sweetest finds in their Allston, Massachusetts, setup. —a... READ MORE »