Fall classes have already resumed but it’s not too late to snag a great new back-to-school bag, whether you’re a student or not (treat yo self, right?). We particularly love this great selection of bags from Mend, Raven + Lily, and Sseko Designs. The best part about all of these fun accessories? Each bag is cause-oriented, so you can feel great about carrying a beautiful piece that helps change the world.
Mend, a line launched by Invisible Children, was created to provide jobs for women who were previously abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. The first step that these women must take after healing from the atrocities they faced is finding gainful employment, which is no easy feat. Invisible Children stepped in to fill the gap, providing these exploited women with opportunities to secure fair, well-paying jobs as seamstresses that not only sustain them but also give them a purpose. Mend goes above and beyond providing women with jobs by also pairing each participant in the program with a full-time Social Worker, a trained specialist who provides psychosocial support to both the employees and their families.
From this season’s collection, we especially love the Mini Messenger bag. It is designed to fit a 15” laptop and it has plenty of pockets to corral your writing utensils, glasses, and phone. We also think that the Blank Canvas Tote is perfect for carrying notebooks and reading material, and that the canvas Laptop Sleeves are simultaneously minimalist, functional, and modern. Best of all? Each piece bears a distinct marking that has both the signature and the story of the seamstress who made it.
Kirsten Dickerson and Sophia Lin founded Raven + Lily in an effort to create something that highlighted their shared passion for fashion and ethical design. The company employs marginalized women all over the world – from Ethiopia and India to Cambodia and the United States—and provides them with fair wages, safe jobs, healthcare, and, as the website so eloquently puts it, “a real chance to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.”
For fall, we love the Everyday Bags—the Grey Diamond Print is our favorite. These totes are hand-printed in Cambodia and they come equipped with sturdy leather handles, perfect for carrying heavy textbooks and binders. The Maleng Fold Over Clutch would be a chic way to store pencils in pens, and it would fit just right inside any of the Everyday Bags.
Liz Bohannon traveled to Uganda after college to assist a youth development organization by putting her journalism major to use—she planned to help them structure their communication strategies and to determine ways for them to more effectively share information with their donors. But her life changed drastically when she met the young women in the program, women who were passionate about learning and making something of their lives, women who wanted a chance to pursue their dreams. Sseko, “an ethical fashion brand,” was born out of the desire to not only provide employment opportunities for marginalized women but also to provide the chance for these very same women to go to college.
Though Sseko is known for its super cool sandals with interchangeable fabric straps, the company has also launched a series of fabulous bags. The Hobo Bags are great fall staples, but we are absolutely nuts over the Leather Accent Totes. The fun part? You can purchase multiple Tote Accents to pair with any bag you choose, allowing you to change up the look and the style of your tote whenever you’d like! We’re crazy about the Mojave Accent in particular.
Now—get to shopping!
A Note From The Editor: Sseko Designs sent this author bags to borrow for this review. Photos provided by Sseko Designs.