Sheila Odessey’s satchels, purses, and clutches may be made from discarded plastic bags, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anything remotely trashy about them. Sleek, polished, and dare we say it, sophisticated, Odessey’s eponymous range of carryalls is everything the cheap disposable isn’t.

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The self-confessed scavenger and hoarder started her line in 2009 after learning that American toss out roughly 100 billion plastic bags each year. Yet only 1 percent of them ever see a second life. “It costs more money to recycle a bag than to produce one, so there is no financial incentive to repurposing plastic,” she says. “My solution: turn this trash into trendy textiles.”

American toss out roughly 100 billion plastic bags each year, yet only 1 percent are recycled.

After cutting the bags into strips, Odessey weaves the pieces into a raffia-like fabric using a vintage loom. She lets the bag’s individual color and graphics dictate the final character of the product, whether it’s a capacious messenger or a diminutive cosmetics pouch. But although the looming process masks the identity of each bag’s source material, Odessey doesn’t try to hide it, either. One of her clutches brandishes its garment-cloaking origin with pride, with the words “this bag is not a toy” in full display.

+ Sheila Odessey