Attention, shoppers: Artecnica launches Homeboy tote bags


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With the recent plastic-bag ban in Santa Monica, we’ve been casting our eyes again on reusable totes. If you’ve seen enough save-the-planet message bags, here’s a worthy alternative: Homeboy Bags, produced by the L.A. design studio Artecnica in collaboration with graphic designer Alex Lin and Homeboy Industries. Billing itself as the largest gang intervention program in the U.S., Homeboy operates a silk-screening business run by former L.A. gang members.

The bags are part of Artecnica’s Design w/Conscience project, a series of products rooted in humanitarian and environmental principles. Past collaborators have included Studio Tord Boontje. The Homeboy collection introduced this week at the New York International Gift Fair consists of five totes featuring slogans by Homeboy Industries’ Jesuit founder, Father Greg Boyle. The text is graffiti- and tattoo-influenced calligraphy by former gang members. Among the provocative thoughts imprinted on the canvas bags: ‘Nothing Stops a Bullet Like a Job’ and ‘Compassion Turns Enemies Into Allies.’


Homeboy totes are 14.5 inches by 13.5 inches, large enough for a trip to the farmers market or local grocery store -- and big enough to hold vintage vinyl, if you happen to be a deejay. The bags will hit the market in March. The price is expected to be $29.50, through Artecnica’s online store and retail partners. Each tote is signed and comes with a newsletter with information about Homeboys Industries.

-- David A. Keeps