SOURCE: Half the Sky Designs, Inc.

August 09, 2007 19:12 ET

Juice Packs and Rice Bags Avoid the Trash Heap and Become Fashionable Handbags: Half the Sky Designs Introduces Rebagz

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - August 9, 2007) - Do you ever wonder what happens to all those colorful juice packs that are discarded after toddlers and adults have drained their contents? What about the oversized rice bags that are used by restaurants and institutions? Marty Stevens-Heebner, founder and president of Half the Sky Designs, and her team use them to make "Rebagz™" -- stylish and vibrant bags in a variety of shapes and sizes that include handbags, messenger bags, baby bags, cosmetics bags and more.

"As a designer, I went to the Philippines to look for fabrics to make handbags in the traditional way. But when I was there I found these people weaving and sewing with recycled materials that actually make for a more fashion-forward design my customers love," says Stevens-Heebner. "Because we incorporate recycled things in our colorful handbag designs, we really feel we're part of 'the next evolution in style.'"

Rebagz™ are bright, durable bags that currently come in two different lines. The woven line is made from the recycled juice packs that are cut into strips and woven together to create vivid styles for almost any occasion: The Tie Totes (both large and small) and the Four Corners Shoulder Bags are great all-around handbags; the Carry Anything Anywhere Bag can be used as a commuter tote or shopping bag; The Bringing Up Baby/On The Go Bag has compartments so it can be used as a baby bag, a beach bag, a gym bag or an overnight bag; the Mini Bag can be used for cosmetics or even worn as a wristlet; and the Travel and Book Bag is a favorite for toiletries or for children to transport toys and games on trips. The nylon rice bag line includes the Messenger Bag, which can fit a laptop, has compartments for pens and pads and an outer zipper compartment for quick access; and the Sport Pouch is lightweight and good for traveling since it can hold your passport, camera and other items you need in a hurry. The Messenger Bag and the Sport Pouch, which appeal to both men and women, bear parts of the words and logos from the rice bags from which they are made, adding visual elements and a certain "kitsch" factor.

Rebagz™ officially launched at the California Gift Show in July, where the Half the Sky Designs booth was bustling with buyers from around the country placing orders. "I'm thrilled by the response we've had to our Rebagz™," said Stevens-Heebner. "People are first drawn to the bright colors and original designs. Then, when they find out that they're recycled and fair trade, they want the bags that much more."

A former human rights worker who travels frequently to their manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, Stevens-Heebner has always been committed to providing fair pay and good working conditions for the women who work for Half the Sky, which she named for the adage, "Women hold up half the sky."

With a degree in ancient history from Cornell University, Stevens-Heebner puts the current ecological crisis in perspective. "The world has been in bad situations before, but people are very resourceful and creative. I've learned through my design work that we need to look at everything with fresh eyes and let it inspire us. We have to make recycling and reusing materials reflexive; we shouldn't even think twice about it," says Stevens-Heebner. "That's what we do at Half the Sky Designs. We like to say that we're saving the world... one handbag at a time."

Rebagz™ suggested retail prices range from $24 to $90. For more pricing, ordering or additional information, call (818) 907-8695 or visit

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Lisa Elia PR
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