There is nothing I like better than discovering a new homegrown Aussie brand, so I was thrilled to recently be introduced to Sash & Belle by Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit. Sash & Belle is a Canberra (ACT) based handbag label who celebrated their first anniversary in February this year. Kristy McPhillips is the creator of Sash & Belle and I caught up with her this week as I reviewed three of her lovely creations, the Carly backpack, the Harper clutch and the Menzies tote. Read on for all the details …
CARLY BACKPACK $90
I’ve been looking at leather backpacks for a while now but I have yet to make a purchase so when I got the opportunity to test drive the Carly I was very excited. Carly comes in three colours (Red, Black & Tan) and I opted for the red. The Carly is narrower at the top and flares out towards the bottom. It just fits my work laptop inside so it would be possible to use it for work but I think this bag is better suited for the weekend. I can it see it paired with monochrome outfit of black skinny jeans, knee high boots and an oversized sweater with the rich red of the backpack providing the pop of colour. Internally there are two large sections, two open pockets and a zip pocket. Two additional external zip pockets back and front add to the practicality. Given the bag itself is quite deep these are handy for keeping smaller items such as keys, phones and you favourite lippy within easy reach. The leather is soft and supply with quite a distinct grain pattern. The deep red is accented with gold hardware. The finish is impressive with precision stitching and a lovely silky lining. The straps are adjustable for a comfy fit and offer two anchor points at the top and changing between these is as simple and as un-clipping and re-clipping the straps. The Carly is as baeutiful and she is practical and who doesn’t love that? The one thing I would change would be to have silver hardware instead of gold but that’s just me.
MENZIES TOTE $40
The Menzies comes in two colours (red/white/blue & tan/orange/white/cream) and I’m reviewing the latter. I love a tote for work (especially when I travel) because they are just so practical. You can stuff them chock full of stuff essentials and they can take just about everything you throw at them. Like the Harper, the Menzies is made of faux leather but here the material is much softer which is ideal for this style of bag. The front of the bag is backed with glossy black which accentuates the intricate cut out pattern beautifully. The rear, base and handles are all in the orange material. Subtle gold hardware completes the picture. Internally the Menzies features a single large, deep compartment with a small zippered section and a phone pocket. My laptop, notebook and other work essentials are easily accommodated by the generous sizing. The handles are the ideal length with the bag sitting perfectly on the hip while still being long enough to enable you to rifle through it with the straps still on the shoulder. If I was to be really picky I think the Menzies could be made even better if there was an internal divider creating two separate spaces, one side for the laptop and the other side for everything else given in my world everything seems to roll underneath the laptop making retrieval on the go a tricky task. A supremely practical bag that will pair beautifully with a neutral outfit. And did I mention the price? You get all this for $40, which is seriously good value. Look out for the Menzies in the next episode of The Wednesday Pants.
Kristy & Sash & Belle have had a brilliant first year with Canberra locals embracing the brand with relish. So what’s in store in 2015? I ask the hard hitting questions here …
SFH – Why did you create Sash & Belle?
KM – I love fashion, shoes and handbags!!! I wanted to create an online business but I didn’t want to sell someone else’s label.
SFH – What do you look for when creating a new collection?
KM – Sash & Belle is all about style and functionality. Busy women need functional products. A bag can look good but if it is not functional then what is the point of using it? If it can’t fit all the items you need it to then it’s not a great bag. Of course there are bags for different purposes for instance if you buy a clutch then you a buying it to look good with your outfit and hold the essentials (cards, money, phone and lippie) but if you buy a bag for the office it needs to deliver more. Handbags play a major role in the formation of the whole look. Women deserve to look and feel good about themselves and they need to be able to buy themselves stylish and beautiful bags without feeling guilty or spending a lot of money. I want Sash & Belle bags to enhance a woman’s own personal style, so I have created an affordable range of styles that will suit most people.
SFH – What can we expect from the current Autumn/Winter 2015 collection?
KM – The trend for big handbags is gradually losing its position, giving way to small and medium sized options. We have some lovely winter colours in our range. Navy blue is making a comeback, deep red is always gorgeous and magenta is popular this Winter. Fringes are almost never out of fashion and of course the black handbag is always classy, elegant, timeless and suitable for both business and evening events.
SFH – What are some of the things you have achieved in your first year?
KM – We presented at the Dress Me Up charity event in September and raised $2,600 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation and we have gained over 1000 Facebook likes. I still find it exciting when I walk down the street and see someone with one of my bags.
SFH – So what’s next for Sash & Belle?
KM – In 2014 we have concentrated on the local market and Canberra ladies have been really supportive. In 2015 I’m looking to expand into rural and regional areas. In the future Sash & Belle will be also looking to start selling through retailers. I want to make Sash & Belle a well known label, something that you might see in many stores one day.
SFH – Why can readers buy your bags?
KM – Sash & Belle bags are available online and we offer free shipping Australia wide.
So ladies there you have it. If you haven’t yet discovered Sash & Belle then I suggest you head over to their website now and check out everything they have to offer. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. I’ve picked out a few other items below that you may like 🙂
Have you recently discovered any Aussie gems? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Until Next Time …