FashionAll The Rage

Carpet: It's in the bag

TurkeySoutheast Asia

Rugs have been appearing on shoulders and wrists and backs, carried as colorful, one-of-a-kind purses and handbags. These modern carpetbags use kilim (flat weave), dhurries (hand-woven, vegetable-dyed cotton), suzani (embroidered cotton or silk) and other, often vintage, global textiles to create truly distinctive purses. Each one tells a story, which is part of the charm.

Dhurrie messenger bag

Bill Adler, owner of Will Leather Goods, found a collection of 75-year-old dhurrie rugs in the New Mexico hills and brought them back to his California workshop. He's repurposed these hand-loomed, colorful cotton carpets into one-of-a-kind messenger bags, trimmed in bridle leather (example shown: $495) They can be bought in muted, colorful or bright color palettes at Will Leather Goods, Venice, 1360 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, and

Rug & Relic

Husband and wife team Steve and Tove Bormes started South Dakota's Rug & Relic import business (the late Sen. George McGovern was a customer) after Steve's many trips to Turkey. They use vintage one-of-a-kind Turkish kilim carpets with leather and brass trim for their rug backpacks which are all manufactured in Turkey ($180). They also sell purses crafted from suzani Turkish embroidered cotton (example shown: $210), at

Simone Camille

Los Angeles stylist turned handbag designer Simone Camille uses hand-woven, vintage carpet textiles with tassels and metal trims in her one-of-a-kind small carpetbags. (example shown: $520);


Actress and dancer Mehera Blum's Nadine carryall tote, from her vegan line, is made in Indonesia using handcrafted tribal embroidery from regions in the mountains of Southeast Asia — Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, southern China and northern Vietnam. The bags have Blum's signature bright magenta lining along with an inspirational spiritual quote that dangles from a metal sphere (example shown: $470);


Owner and designer Stephanie Larrowe started Totem in 2010 using vintage 1930s to 1970s salvaged items bought on long road trips throughout the southwest. All of her items, from purses to furniture, are made in Los Angeles. Her one-of-a-kind fringe shoulder strap bags are made from 100% wool vintage Navajo rugs with old horse tack for a strap and sustainable deer antler tips for trim (example shown: $575). Available at Principessa in Venice and

[For the record, 12:30 p.m. March 21: This post erroneously identifies the designer of Simone Camille bags as Simone Camille. The designer's name is Simone Harouche.]

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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