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What Goes Into a Fleabag

Where there’s a Fleabag, there’s a story…

To say that Alex Bell and Shira Entis have high standards for the materials they use would be a severe understatement. Not only are their hand-sewn, eco-minded Fleabags made from locally sourced organic and vintage materials, but so many of these fabrics and parts also come with a built-in narrative. “We love funky, off-the-beaten path, whimsical stuff,” Shira explains. “We’re just very interested in human folly.” Hey, us too! Let’s dive into these crazy tales. —monica derevjanik

+ The Civil War-Era Artillery Blanket in the upcoming F/W 2012 collection

“My boyfriend’s stepfather is actually a reenactor. He got me thinking that there’s this whole industry of reenactors and related equipment for them out there. Where there is a market, there are people supplying it, right? Turns out that there’s a whole world of them. We found this one guy in Ohio who actually specializes in reenactment garb, and we ordered wool blankets from him to use in our next collection. This guy is not a weirdo! He’s very normal, intellectual, and social.” —Shira [Ed: Since the collection won’t be available ‘til August, there is no photo evidence yet. But the story was too cool not to share.]

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+ The Frames of the Original Flea Tote

“When we first started designing for Fleabags, we had this idea to use tubular frames because they’re lighter. They’re hard to source, but our factory recommended getting in touch with this couple, Mr. and Mrs. Wolf, out in Brooklyn. They were both Holocaust survivors and had been together for 67 years when we first met them. To get to their office, you had to walk down this long hallway, and with elderly Mr. Wolf, it’d be a slow little walk. Each time that we’d make that walk—which was often—he’d usually talk to us about how long they had been together or how they work side-by-side. They were just so in love. The best part is that the first time we placed an order, they wrote us an invoice on a post-it note.” —Alex

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+ The Netting on the Seafarer ALICE Knapsack

“Two years ago, I was on a road trip and was listening to an NPR story about people affected by the BP oil spill. They interviewed this guy named Bubba who was a net-maker, and he was saying how he was probably going to be the last person in his family to be one. So I was just like, ‘How can we use his netting? Can we contact this guy and repurpose this netting so he can still make a living?’ I actually found him by looking through the white pages. I contacted him and told him who I was, expecting him to hang up on me. But he was really into it! He made this hand-dyed netting, and we sewed them into what is now our Seafarer knapsack.” —Shira

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+ The Leather on their First Of a Kind Edition

“This natural, vegetable-tanned leather has become very special to Fleabags, as we’ve used it for the handles on our first style, the Original Flea, and we’ve continued using it in our other items, like on the straps of the Chesapeake ALICE Knapsack and the Arcade Ballet Tote. The untreated, blush color is intended to absorb sunlight and your body’s natural oils to gain a patina and brown over time. As it ages, it becomes more unique and personal to the owner.” —Alex