Plastic water bottles, billboard vinyl and pineapple leaf fiber. Those are the three ingredients to the rapid success of local handbag designer Hamilton Perkins. After spending nearly a decade in the finance and retail arenas, Perkins decided to use his business skills to make a major impact on the world, notably to reimagine recycled materials into trendy handbags and accessories.
Perkins launched the Hamilton Perkins Collection in 2014 and has since become a luminary in the fashion and sustainability spheres. His selection of backpacks, hip bags and drawstrings bags have made appearances at local fashion shows, been flaunted by festival-goers at Coachella and have flanked the backs of marathon runners here at the beach. We met with Perkins at his MacArthur Center storefront to discover the best style for every type of bag user.
Earth Bag Premium, $115
Perkins drastically improved the lives of travelers with his first design, the Earth Bag Premium. The duffel bag-backpack hybrid features a three-zipper system that makes traveling practical and easy. The neutral-hued duffel fits nicely in the overhead bins of an airplane and snuggly on the backs of hikers and on-foot commuters. The popular design also features an interior laptop sleeve and exterior back pouch for travel papers and other readily accessible items.
Earth Bag Lite, $48
The smaller and more affordable cousin of the Earth Bag Premium is Perkins’ Earth Bag Lite. With both handle and shoulder straps, the water-repellent duffel is perfect for gym-goers. Its billboard vinyl interior is bright and durable and features a small, easy to zip pouch. Another vinyl-based pocket flanks the exterior of the bag for quick access to headphones, sweatbands, goggles and the like.
Earth Bag Hip, $75
Earth Bag Hip, Gold Pineapple, $148
Totes and duffels aren’t for everyone, so Perkins designed the Earth Bag Hip for those who carry only minimal items. The fun colored fanny packs are ideal for those who just need their credit cards and car keys, or snacks during a beach walk or amusement park visit. The Earth Bag Hip is comfortable to wear both slouched across your hips or across your chest.
Earth Tote, $78
The Always Prepared
We all have that one friend who is quick to reveal a Kleenex, pair of scissors, stick of gum or phone charger from their hulking handbag in a pinch. For those who travel with everything but the kitchen sink, Perkins’ Earth Tote is ideal for carrying around the essentials. The multi-hued tote boasts a large button-up front pouch and a deep interior pocket for safekeeping.
Earth Bag Standard, $48
It was during Perkins’ career as a MBA student at the College of William & Mary that he noticed a need for stylish and practical school bags. While several of his handheld designs are great for lugging around laptops and portfolios, the Earth Bag Standard is great for the basics. Select from an assortment of colors and varied billboard pockets and interiors for a light, easy to carry backpack. The old school style bag provides plenty of space for books, a cushioned laptop sleeve and spacious top-zip front pocket for storage.
Items from the Hamilton Perkins Collection can be purchased online at HamiltonPerkins.com, or from the second floor pop-up shop in Norfolk’s MacArthur Center, open now through December.