Why I started a fair handbag brand

Today is the start of DSFW or the Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week! Isn’t this the perfect day to post my very first blog post?
SO, here it is, my very first blog post on my new website.
Even though I’m so enthusiast about the approaching launch of the Ms. Bay handbags and I want to share so many things about it. But it’s probably better to first introduce myself.
(For more on Ms. Bay instead, check the about-section.)

Who I am, in super-short
If this were a speed-date, I’d say; Hi, I am Saskia, 32 years old, Belgian, vegetarian by nature.
Studied Art and Design in Brussels before leaving for Tanzania where I lived and worked for 4 years as a project developer for NGO’s. Love design and drinking beer with friends. Hate bottled water and talking on the radio. I jump off bridges of my own free will. I believe ethics and aesthetics can perfectly go together and I think fair fashion will one day be the norm.
But I hope this is not a speed-date and this first blog post is just the start of a beautiful long-term fashion relationship. So let me go a bit deeper;

I couldn’t find what I didn’t know I was looking for.
I was never a great fashion shopper. I’m the typical eternal doubter that takes ages to make a shopping decision. Ever since I could choose what to wear and what to buy, I had been looking for timeless classic pieces that I could easily update with good accessories. I could find them but seldom bought anything with great pleasure. And I never quite knew why. I loved fashion, designed handbags from old clothes-hangers (really! :0), I even almost went to fashion design academy (but enrolled into Arts and Design instead). I loved to collect beauty in other types of objects. Yet I was dreading the day that I had to go out to the stores because I had worn out my entire wardrobe. Especially accessories were hard to find. I wanted them to last, be of good quality. But often found them (way) too expensive or made of materials that I just couldn’t buy (think reptile :/).
It is hard to imagine, but these were the pre-Instagram, pre-facebook, pre-webshop days and it was nearly impossible to get to know new brands if they weren’t offered in your local department stores. And that was my problem. I didn’t like what they offered. It’s my nature to want to fall in love with something before I take it home. But what I could get simply didn’t mean anything to me.

My experience abroad
When I got older, had travelled quite a bit and had lived in developing countries for a few years; I started to understand that all this time I was looking for authenticity and integrity. When working abroad in developing countries (often also the same countries as to where big brands have shifted their production facilities), I would sometimes meet artisans, skilful makers of things. And even though their products weren’t always perfect, it was knowing who made it, how they made it and where my money was going that made it so easy for me to fall in love with what they sold.

The start of Ms. Bay
In the years that followed, I would look for natural materials, strong and timeless design, but also for honest and transparent production processes.
Ethics and aesthetics in one product were hard to find. Last years, fair apparel brands leapt from hemp to trend quite fast, resulting in a wide array of gorgeous and fair brands. But the accessory department proved more rigid.
Finding the perfect handbag with a strong design that I could afford and that I did not have to feel guilty about, appeared simply impossible.

And that is when Ms. Bay came into the world.
I wanted to create the handbag that was easy for you and me to fall in love with; beautiful and clean in both design and vision.

I truly hope you will love what I have been working on.. soon more about it!
Meanwhile, please stay in touch through Instagram or Facebook. If you want to be sure not to miss the Ms. Bay launch and pre-sales: just let me know by subscribing to my newsletter!