Big Bag Theory

Written by Shelby Moore and Craig Outhier Category: Lifestyle Issue: February 2013
Group Free

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Who needs Gucci or Prada when you can have a cowboy boot clutch? Loosen the purse strings for one of these Arizona-made bags.

Necktie Bags
The local-first firebrands at MADE art boutique are all about Valley-based designers and accessories, including clutch bags and tote bags ($20-$30) made by designer Matt Rainy from men’s neckties. Just think: You could buy back one of the unused Christmas neckties that hung in your dad’s closet for a decade before he finally donated it to Goodwill.
MADE art boutique
922 N. Fifth St., Phoenix





Cowboy Boot Purses
The three Texas-born sisters behind Stagecoach Bags and Collectibles love the cowboy mystique – so much so that they started a line of purses ($230-$288) converted from new and used cowboy boots. Bonus: Each pair of boots – and, thus, each purse – has a unique backstory, which the Arizona-based siblings will gladly furnish to prospective buyers.
Stagecoach Bags and Collectibles
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  Recycled-Fabric Totes
Jennifer Paige Boonlorn got her start selling self-designed headbands to Gossip Girl-types on the Upper East Side. Upon moving to Arizona, she altered her game plan to making eco-friendly totes from colorful strips of recycled fabric. Her signature item – this eight-pocket “Kelly Beth” tote ($200) – is the stuff of casual-chic, yoga-enthusiast dreams.
Soul Carrier
3261 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-909-6611,

Roadkill Computer Bag
Converting roadkill into leather sure does cut down on production costs. Or at least it did, until buzzkill Arizona lawmakers outlawed the practice. Still, husband-wife sustainability wonks Nedra Frodge and James Pauquette – headquartered waaaaay down in McNeal, Arizona – soldier on, crafting stylishly worn-looking bags ($45-$60) from legally-obtained coyote, raccoon and skunk fur.  
Roadkill Salvage
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  Alligator Clutch
Japan-born but Arizona-raised Toyo Gilman has been working with leather since grade school and opened his first Tucson shop in the 1970s. Gilman likes working with exotic hides. Case in point: this handsome, silver-sterling concho clutch that was once an alligator ($399).
Dark Star Leather