Uniquely up-cycled designer bags from ArtBag x Bagsamoré

You may remember the great Givenchy debacle from a few years ago – well I do and it’s still fresh! The team from Bagsamoré are back with a new offering, ArtBag x Bagsamore. Here’s Freya, Director of Bagsamoré for more.

What is Bagsamoré known for?

Bagsamoré is a luxury handbag restoration company, established in 2018 in Sydney. For the past six years, we have been servicing handbags and small leather goods from all over Australia. During the Covid-19 pandemic, while working from a studio at home, I began to realise I wanted to explore more in to the realm of upcycling handbags. Motivated by this realisation, I moved my studio to Byron Bay, a central hub for the Australian art world. Now located in the Arts and Industry Estate in Byron, I have spent the last six months introducing a new concept to Bagsamoré – ArtBag. With this new arm of the business now up and running, I have also reopened my restoration services and have recently partnered with a Pelle Recycled Designer Shoes & Accessories in Paddington, Sydney who is now a drop off point for all my Sydney clients. 

Freya of Bagsamoré

What is ArtBag x Bagsamoré?

ArtBag x Bagsamoré is an innovative sustainable business that seamlessly blends the worlds of fashion and art. We’re are creating a unique network of Australian artists, dedicated to transforming upcycled secondhand handbags into stunning pieces of wearable art.
Our process is both collaborative and creative. We carefully select artists and provide them with a handbag, serving as their canvas. They then infuse their artistic style into these bags, turning each one into a distinctive work of art.

These transformed handbags are available for purchase on the Bagsamoré website. Additionally, each artist features a personal bio on our site, offering customers the opportunity to commission bespoke, one-of-a-kind handbag designs.

Our mission is twofold: to craft something new and extraordinary from the old and worn-out, and to empower individuals to express their uniqueness through the synergy of art and fashion. We believe this initiative not only supports talented Australian artists but also adds vibrancy and colour to our world. Our aim is to continue to grow a vast network of artists, so that there is something there to suit everyone’s tastes which in turn will encourage more and more people to reinvent the old and stop buying new. Sustainable fashion is our passion.

What prompted the new addition of ArtBag?

I actually had this idea way back in 2018 when I first set up Bagsamoré, and I wanted to push the business in this direction. But one thing led to another and the popularity of Bagsamoré’s restoration service grew so rapidly, I had no time to explore this new concept. I guess I have the pandemic to thank for giving me the time and space to tap into my creative side and figure out a way of making this dream become a reality. 

I come from a very creative background, my father is a painter, my mum runs a leather restoration training school and I even found a painting my grandfather did back in the day. I studied Applied Creative Design at University with a focus on fashion, so I feel that all of this and with over a decade in experience in restoring bags that this felt like a very natural progression for me to take in my career. I absolutely love it so far! 

Sounds amazing – so what’s the process? 

Each bag is bought second-hand by Bagsamoré and restored both inside and out. We aim to source a diverse range of designer handbags that are in desperate need of revitalisation, with our primary goal being to save bags from landfill that might otherwise be deemed irreparable.

Once restored, the bags are sent to our growing network of artists, who have the freedom to paint whatever design they choose. It’s always thrilling to see the bags when they return from the artists; witnessing their vision come to life is fascinating and always unexpected.

Each bag is painted using leather paints provided by Bagsamoré. Subsequently, each piece is finished with a top coat of sealant by Bagsamoré to ensure the longevity of the artwork. These bags are then available for purchase on the Bagsamoré website, and each artist receives a commission for every sale. Additionally, there is an option for customers to collaborate with an artist to create a custom design in their art style and have their own handbag painted.

I am passionate about encouraging people to reimagine their wardrobes and to rediscover those once-forgotten bags, transforming them into unique and special items. Not only does this process give a bag a completely new look, but it also turns it into a one-off piece of collectible art. It’s a win-win situation.

How does the creative process work?

I grant complete creative freedom to the artists for the bags that Bagsamoré sends them. My aim is to allow them the liberty to express themselves and create a first bag that truly represents their artistic identity. For commissioned pieces, we facilitate close collaboration between the customer and the artist. This process involves selecting a colour palette, determining the size and scale of the artwork, and deciding on a theme or subject that the artwork will be based upon. The artist then uses this information to create a unique piece of art tailored specifically for that customer

How unique are the designs of the bags?

I think it all depends on the style of art or artist that customers choose. Some artists focus more on realism, meaning you will get a depiction that closely resembles something you wish to have painted, such as a beloved pet, portrait, object, or scene. On the other hand, others are very abstract, meaning you would choose that artist based on their style and interpretation, perhaps because you like their style of print or their color palettes. My vision was to offer people that choice, rather than just hiring one artist to provide a similar style of artwork over and over again, which is a common approach among other companies in the field of handbag art.

What type of prices can customers expect for uniquely designed, designer bags?

Each artist establishes their own hourly rate for commissions, which varies depending on the size and complexity of the design. Hourly rates typically start at around $80 per hour and increase from there. Therefore, the total cost depends on the chosen artist and the specific design. I appreciate the flexibility this system offers, as it provides options to suit various budgets. The ArtBags available for sale generally range in price from about $795 to $2000.

If you’re an eco-conscious consumer, looking for ways to save fashion from landfill, a fashion enthusiast and collector, or perhaps an art lover, who would like to wear art and look at it – then check out ArtBag x Bagsamoré. You can follow BagsamoréB. on Instagram @bagsamore_ or visit the website bagsamore.com.au

About the author

Michelle hails from the UK – but grew up with big flavours and spices thanks to her Singaporean Mum. International cuisine has always been part of Michelle’s life as she explored the world in the pursuit of delicious food and wine – along with a castle or two. Michelle now lives in Sydney after a lengthy stint in Brisbane (a city dear to her heart, which she visits frequently). She is letting her nose and palette be her guide as she discovers and shares exciting and delicious dining experiences. Michelle also loves, in equal measure, fashion, sunshine and puppies.