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Eco-Fashionista: A Place to Stash you Green

The nature of fashion is: when something is in, something else is inevitably out. Seasons change, evolve, and perhaps come back full circle years later to the same modified styles. Now, however, fashion styles aren’t just being modified, the way we think about fashion has been modified as well. More companies are going Green, using renewable products, safer methods of manufacturing and creating alternative materials to simulate the current trends of animal skins and furs. More and more companies are starting up with the idea from conception to only manufacture or sell clothes or items that are purely organic and are eco-friendly. And right now, those companies are very in.
But what about those companies who have a long standing reputation in the fashion industry to make great, fashionable, and reliable products, season after season in leathers or furs or and other un-eco-friendly ways?
As I mentioned last week with shoes, I am a bag snob. And although I’m sure I will be purchasing vegan bags in the future, there’s nothing like a good leather bag. I couldn’t help but wonder, then, as an eco-friendly writer, and one who does try to sustain a Green way of living, am I a hypocrite for wanting to wear leather yet have a compost bucket on my fire escape? And what about those companies that mean well but just have reputations to uphold?
That’s when I came across BRACCIALINI, a truly altruistic company that, although isn’t organic in theory, is organic by nature.
What do I mean? Simply: Yes, their bags are made from different types of leathers and fur and thus not in code with being eco-friendly. They are, however, made organically in Florence, Italy and by local workers, and because this family run business recognizes that their bags aren’t organic, they find it almost a necessity to give back to the community by pairing with various foundations and charities every season.
What sets this line apart from any other bag company out there is, unlike many other Italian bag lines, the Braccialini collections include true collector’s items. For 50 years, women have been putting on their mantles (seriously…I kid you not, on their mantles) bags in the shapes of trains, owls, carriages, birds and butterflies.

Carla, the original designer and creator of Braccialini, does make a seasonal bag line, which is fantastic in and of itself, but she also continues to create these custom, one of a kind, iconic collective pieces that are true must-sees. These pieces are the ones she uses when paring with a charity organization.
This Fall/Winter 2008-2009 season, Braccialini has partnered as the spokesperson for UNESCO – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – an organization that tries to preserve cultural heritage’s by creating the conditions for genuine dialogue based upon respect for shared values and the dignity of each civilization and culture.
Braccialini has created five unique, one of a kind bags depicting images recognized as WORLD HERATIGE SITES by UNESCO. Using mixed materials she has recreated The Great Wall of China, The Acropolis of Athens, The Gaza Pyramids, Naples (the Spanish Quarters) and the City of Salzburg. Proceeds from this collection will be donated to help preserve the culture and heritage of these sites.
Braccialini’s general Fall/Winter line is characterized by a collage of different skins and contrasting colors, and let me tell you, are amazing. The color combinations are mixed with metal, horse leather, python, and patchwork patterns.
My favorite is the Mayan inspired trapezoid bag.
What’s the best part?? This spring marks Braccialini’s US debut, with their official store launch coming up May 22nd at its amazing Soho location off of West Broadway at Prince. So whether you’d like a great bag, a crazy, one of a kind bag, or a bag that you know with your purchase is making an impact on the world, know that Braccialini has handbags to suit the tastes of the most discerning bag aficionados. These bags are not only fashion pieces but also unique works of art and collector’s items in their own right.
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