carpisa tote

“Affordable” doesn’t necessarily mean “shoddily made”. When I came across the inexpensive Carpisa brand, I was pleased to see how well-made its bags are. An Italian leather goods and fashion accessories maker since 1982, Carpisa’s turtle logo is well-known in Europe. Their designers come out with fresh new designs every couple of months or so, linked to seasons and occasions – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Christmas, Valentine’s.

Many of Carpisa’s lines are created from manmade materials such as nylon and are made in China, which keeps costs down. They also have leather bags and accessories, but of course at a different price point.

The brand tends to be fashion forward, and that means “trendy”, not necessarily stylish. I’ve gone through their catalog and seen many of their actual wares fresh off the boat. I wouldn’t choose the majority of them – hoboes in thin nylon that look as if they could snag on a torn fingernail and rip, backpacks that might be Jansport rip-offs with the cheerful and childish patterns – but occasionally they have great bags in timeless designs and hues, and it pays to watch out for those.

They have a huge shop in London on Marylebone Road (photo above), which is where a friend got me this beautiful white-and-black nylon tote.

First off, the stitching in and out is excellent, and that’s very important in a good handbag.

Carpisa white and black tote on Ohio Rose quilt I appliqued with blanket stitch in black thread. Machine quilting was by Alice Wallenberg of Texas in January 2000.

The interior of the bag is roomy. It could aspire to be like Hermione Granger’s capacity-extends-into-other-dimensions beaded bag. It certainly receives our household’s imprimatur as a certified Bag of Holding.

Here it is in action, holding a ton of my junk. ‘Nuff said? You betcha.

The Carpisa tote pressed into action for work. Behind it is a katcha [muslin] bag autographed for me by writer Carljoe Javier.

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