These Handcrafted Bags Combine Art and Fashion

Handbag brand, Boejack Design, was founded in 2011 by Eda Atay Pastirmaci, who decided to turn her passion for sewing and creating into her full-time job – an untraditional choice if you take into account her background in engineering.

Born in Istanbul, Atay Pastirmaci had earned a BA in Electrical & Electronics Engineering, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Kingston University, UK and had worked more than five years in technology and consulting, before taking a leap of faith into sewing.

Now based in Seattle, Atay Pastirmaci specializes in bags that combine art and fashion. “Before Boejack Design, I had a very boring engineering career,” she shared with the Etsy blog. “I was in need of a hobby; I wanted to create something from scratch. I found this old sewing machine of my grandmother’s, and I taught myself to use it.”

The first bags she made were for herself and her friends, with no intention of selling them. But attending a motivational workshop in 2011 she decided to try and see if her creations had any buyers. Nowadays, her bags sell by the hundreds.

All bags are hand-sewn in limited numbers in her home studio, as she emphasizes on small batch production and sources her materials locally. “It’s about continuous improvement,” says Atay Pastirmaci, describing her design process. “It always starts with the question of how something is going to be used. First I decide what it’s going to be, say, a makeup bag or backpack. After I come up with a prototype, I use it (and ask my friends to use it) for a couple of weeks. Then I ask their opinions about the particular style: Do I need to add a zipper to the opening? Change the size? Add another pocket?”

Her designs blend a playful use of color and shapes with a minimalist yet functional style. You’d want to grab one yourself.