Passionate about design, conservation, and human connection, I created this shopping bag as a functional statement in order to create awareness about the harmful effects of plastic and synthetic materials. Leather became my medium for expression because of its strength, beauty and sustainability. Leather exists as a by-product of the food industry, and can be tanned using extracts from plants. This is the oldest and most natural method used for tanning leather. Vegetable tanned leather will fully biodegrade if left on the ground. With this understanding, and a passion for design, together with self-taught leather artisanal skill, I created a leather shopping bag that would last a lifetime. I called it "my market bag". Wherever I went - farmer's markets, grocery store, the beach, picnics, traveling - people would say, "I love your bag!" It was clear that I had to make more!
The Market Bag is constructed using many cutouts of vegetable tanned leather sourced from Tuscany, Italy. The shape of the cutout came about from different orientations of the letter "C" representing conservation, connectivity, craftsmanship, and Carolyn. These concepts are at the core of each bag. The cutouts are joined together with solid brass rivets, symbolizing the African philosophy of Ubuntu: “I am because we are''. I believe that we are all connected, and function as part of a greater whole. My South African roots exposed me to exceptional artisanal skills, and it has always been my belief that anything handmade from natural materials is the ultimate luxury. My bags are proudly handmade imbuing an energy. I encourage you to carry this energy with you, and to use the bag as a friendly reminder to be a conscious consumer.
Carolyn Mackenzie - Founder, Designer and Maker