TEEN VOGUE: Frankie Collective Is Making Tiny Bags for Your Arms and Ankles

August 05, 2019

Would you wear a bag on your arm or your ankle? If your answer is yes (like mine) then good news. Frankie Collective — a company that upcycles sportswear and luxury items (some, like their fuzzy Gucci shorts are bootleg knockoffs, while others are authentic like their Burberry purse that was transformed from a real trench) into the brand’s clothes and accessories — recently launched a collection of tiny bags that are meant for just that.

With a small pouch, a flap with some hardware, and an elastic Velcro band, the company, which has over 270,000 Instagram followers, believes there are countless ways to wear this new accessory. Wear one on your ankle with a skirt and sneakers, or over a pair of jeans, or wear it on your upper arm with a cute, tie-dyed, one-shoulder tank (may we suggest this one by Cotton Citizen). But really, no matter what you pair with this arm or ankle bag you’re bound to look cool. We’re waiting for these purses to go viral just like the Jacquemus Le Chiquito bag. So if you want to get ahead of the trend, jump on this look now, not later.

Teen Vogue sat down with Jamie Dawes, one of the founders of Frankie Collective, to find out where the brand got the idea for these bags and how are they made.

Teen Vogue: How did Frankie Collective come into existence?

Jamie Dawes: Frankie Collective has been recycling clothing through the process of reworking, for five years. Prior to this, Jesse and Drew Heifetz [the other founders of Frankie Collective] started their first recycled clothing label over 15 years ago. The company began through the sourcing and selling of popular vintage clothing. Through this process we began to see thousands of pounds of clothing discarded because of minor damages or bad styles. It was at that point that we started to come up with solutions to utilize all the waste we were seeing head straight to the landfill. From here our team grew into what it is today.

TV: What's your process for creating the products you sell?

JD: We look at the textiles that are available to us then design our collections around that. Starting with an idea of what we want to create, we then work around the limitations of what the garment allows. Since we use preexisting clothing as our material, each item we create presents unique design challenges. From graphic placement to size to fabric and style, the variety in the garments we begin with helps to dictate what we end up making.

For the arm/ankle bags, we needed to find jackets or pants that had a small enough logo in order to fit on the flap. We never know if a style is going to sell well or not, so we love to try small runs of things to test the waters. But the response with this bag was incredible. It's such a unique piece and probably something that no one has in their wardrobe. We are so thankful that we are able to experiment and try out new designs like this just for the fun of it.

TV: Why is upcycling important to you?

JD: Our main goal is to keep these pieces out of the landfill. We love the idea of rescuing something that was overlooked and giving it a second chance. The whole process is problem-solving. How to work with these irregular shapes, take them apart, and put them back together again in ways that people wouldn’t expect.

When you think of upcycling you often think of DIY at-home projects. We wanted to take this meaningful technique and bring it to the concept of sportswear and luxury fashion, which is the furthest thing from DIY. We’re provoking people to think eco by creating the clothing they want and adding the bonus of sustainability.

TV: How did the idea for the bags come about?

JD: We designed it right after our leg bag. Trying to discover unique ways to wear a bag besides the regular handheld. Our inspiration first came from trying to figure out the smallest, functional bag that we could make in order to utilize all of our damaged, authentic Louis Vuitton bags. These bags have broken zippers and straps and are otherwise destined for the landfill so we needed to find a solution. Lucky for us the micro bag trend seems to be huge in 2019. We loved the iconic Chanel micro bag that kind of looks like an ankle monitor. We started off with it for the arm and then later realized that you can wear it a few different ways.

When we first designed it we didn't see enough function in it so we pushed it aside to work on other projects. It came back into our minds when we were at the pool and didn't want to carry a bag around. It’s the perfect way to have your room key and a credit card close to you while still being hands-free. You can wear it on your arm or ankle, whichever way looks the best with your fit.

TV: How do you recommend people wear them?

JD: The possibilities are endless. You can wear it around your arm at the gym. Wear it around your ankle when you're poolside. We wear it at work so we won't lose our keys. It looks great on bare skin or layer it over the cuff of your pants. You choose!

TV: Where can we find your products?

JD: We currently only sell online at www.frankiecollective.com. But expect popups and a brick-and-mortar store soon.

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