Uptown Redesigns is a design studio that takes outdated leather coats and upcycles them into new leather bags. Each bag is individually designed and handmade by Sandy Philpott.
The first part of the bag-creation process involves dismantling the outdated coat or garment. Old and worn pieces are discarded, and pieces that can be salvaged are trimmed, cleaned, and brought to the sewing table for repurposing.
The usable leather components are then examined, and the design process begins. Sandy considers the structural necessities of the bag she plans to create but also takes a lead from the original garment’s unique features (such as reusable pockets, zippers, or interesting stitching). For instance, if a strong bag base is needed (for a computer bag or a market tote), the most sturdy leather is set aside for use in that area. If the client requests functional exterior pockets, the coat’s original pockets then become the focus of the design template. Considerations must also be made for the bag’s straps which also require a good deal of the original garment’s leather.
Although Sandy favors a basic tote-style silhouette, the final design is not determined until she is well into the project and sees what the original garment has to offer. At times, the original garment is simply not suited to be a bag at which point alternate products (such as pillows) are considered. It is important not to force a pre-determined outcome or product design onto an old material without prior inspection and considerations for appropriate use.
Once the design is settled, bag construction begins. Many smaller design details are still considered and integrated during this stage (adding patches, pockets, buckles, loops, phone and key holders, etc.), making the bag unique and as functional as possible. Extra care is given to ensure the bag’s ultimate durability, usability, and comfort. The bags are typically lined with repurposed US Army tent canvas and include a “Handmade in New Orleans”
Ready to shop? Browse the collection of currently available bags posted in the online shop. Don’t see “your bag” currently listed? Be sure to follow the Uptown Redesigns’ Facebook Page to hear about new design releases and monitor what is in stock. The right bag may be currently under construction and posted very soon!
Have an old coat that is ready for upcycling? Read more about the custom ordering process, which starts by emailing a photo of your outdated garment and specifying the general type of bag you prefer. If it appears suitable for redesigning, Sandy will ask that you send it to her studio for an in-person inspection, an initial design consultation, and a general price estimate*. Uptown Redesigns will make all final design decisions but will try to meet any special requests. Clients are responsible for all shipping costs and may also be required to make a deposit. Please allow up to three weeks of production time.
* For custom orders, Uptown Redesigns will determine a price based on the amount of time/labor required to complete the bag, and on a similar pre-existing bag’s current price. Most typical custom jobs start at $250 and range anywhere from $200-$300, but will vary greatly based on the condition of the leather and the details of the job. All applicable tax, shipping, and handling fees apply.