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alex bell & shira entis

OF fleabags

When college freshmen go to parties, they probably expect to encounter a kid from their bio class, a line of people waiting to do keg stands, or, at best, next year’s roommate. They don’t expect to meet a future business partner—but that’s exactly what Alex Bell (right) and Shira Entis, co-founders of Fleabags, found in each other during their first week at Brown University.

From there, the two bonded over many a flea-market outing and, after schlepping their day’s finds home in dowdy canvas bags, the girls contemplated why a great tote made to endure a lifetime’s worth of hauls didn’t exist. “What we needed was something cool and sturdy that didn’t feel disposable,” Alex explains.

The girls spent eight months honing in on the ideal tote back in 2008—when Alex was working full-time as a corporate lawyer, and Shira was an assistant designer. “We made 100 bags because that was the factory minimum—and we were terrified they wouldn’t sell,” Shira explains. Women’s Wear Daily featured them the very same week the duo launched the company, and the orders started flying in.

Today, the girls run Fleabags from their Williamsburg studio, where they make lunch for each other and design everything from sturdy, stylish carryalls to classic clutches—all of which are handmade from locally sourced materials. “Even though our line is eco-friendly, our priority is good design,” Shira explains. And they’ve got that in the bag. —monica derevjanik


Behind The Scenes

  • Profile_tumblr_inline_mqi02l3yte1qz4rgp
    See How the Fleabags Designers Fill Their Clutches And maybe find a new favorite lipstick along the way?Just how useful are the canvas-and-leather clutches that Shira Entis and Alex Bell make for their line Fleabags? So handy that the girls have to search for excuses not to carry them. As a result, they have both gotten really good at stocking ‘em with their running-around-town essentials. Get the scoop below. —alisha prakashThe Things Alex Carries:+ “I never wear lipstick, but I go through phases where I’m convinced that I should. So I make ... READ MORE »
  • Profile_tumblr_m5vhmlrttt1qazwkm
    A Guide to Alex Bell and Shira Entis's Favorite Flea Markets These two New Yorkers know where to get all the good stuff.It’d be downright cruel of us to feature Alex Bell and Shira Entis of Fleabags without asking them to put out on the flea-market front. After all, the two seasoned veterans started their bag line to satisfy a desire for well-designed, structurally sound totes to stow their finds. “We love the idea of discovering something that’s so valuable that it’s been passed over by several people and having it live on,” Alex explains. “And the ne... READ MORE »
  • Profile_tumblr_m5vinxh0691qazwkm
    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 cra... READ MORE »