They’re back! After a mega-successful first collab that sold out in minutes last year, Toronto influencer Sasha Exeter has again teamed up with Ela Handbags to launch a second limited-edition capsule collection.
The collection brings back the beloved black croc belt bag (you know, the one that broke the internet) but also introduces 3 new pieces you’re bound to fall head over heels for. The goal for the collection was to supply women with are seasonless, functional and sophisticated accessories and it’s clear that the job’s been done because it’s all the goals.
The bags come in a neutral and timeless colour palette (black and brown) so they’ll go with everything in your closet and the designs are perfect for anyone who leads a busy life thanks to their hands-free style. You can also feel good about supporting a local brand but in addition, everything is made from vegan materials and 100% recycled plastic bottle lining, plus all the packaging for the collaboration is biodegradable.
What’s more, is that Sasha and Ela also enlisted the creative genius that’s Canadian artist Trisha Abe to design the packaging. Trisha’s beautiful art is featured on both the dust bag and the thank you note.
The collection officially drops at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 27 so set your timers and memorize your credit card numbers because you won’t want to miss out!
Want to know even more about the collection? I had a chance to chat with Sasha about everything from the now-iconic Croc Belt Bag, the design process, and even the projects she’s got up her sleeve!
Blair Stutz: Huge congrats on launching your second collab with Ela Handbags! How did the approach to the design of this collab differ from the first?
Sasha Exeter: Thank you so much! This is super exciting and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to co-design this second drop with Ela. Not to mention, blown away at all the positive feedback and excitement for it. Our approach to designing this collab differed a bit from the first bag.
The main difference I would say is that we were able to engage our online communities and allowed them to guide our process based on what they were interested in seeing. Nobody knew about the first drop when we were designing it and the silhouette was not revealed until launch day, but with this time around, everyone knew we were looking to develop something for the spring season, so I took advantage of the capabilities we have within Instagram and polled my audience so they would weigh in on different vegan leather materials, colour options and of course silhouettes and what they were looking for in terms of functionality. Not only did it give us the confidence knowing we were designing pieces we know everyone would love, but it also felt like one giant community effort which was really nice. Giving our followers an opportunity to be a part of the process. Like, how cool is that for them to own a bag that they helped influence?!
BS: This new collection brings back the beloved croc belt bag (!!!) but also introduces 3 new pieces. I’m sure it’s impossible but if you had to pick a fave, which one would it be and why?
SE: Oh yes, we’ve brought back the croc. The amount of inquiries we received was overwhelming, so it made it impossible not to bring it back. At the end of the day, I think it’s important that we listen to what women want. We are designing these pieces for them at the end of the day!
Our 2.0 collection has 3 other beautiful pieces and I love them all for very different reasons, but if I had to choose one, I would say the Saddle bag is my fave. Very early on we collectively decided it would be the hero of the collection. Like all the other styles, this piece is classic and seasonless, but what really makes it extra special is its versatility. With it’s long strap, it can be worn as a crossbody, but by removing the strap and replacing it with the gold loop enclosure that also comes with the bag, the piece shape shifts into this beautiful crescent shape, which makes transitioning from day to night effortless. It’s basically two bags for the price of one!
BS: How did it feel to watch the croc belt bag sell out so quickly?
SE: Oh wow, I often reminisce about that day. It was surreal. It was my first time launching a collab and nobody except a handful of media had seen the bag, so I was unsure at what the response was going to be. None of us anticipated the bag selling out in under 3 minutes. I was a roller coaster of emotions. I went from a fit of nerves that whole week leading up to launch day, to excitement, followed by sheer shock that turned into an overwhelming feeling of happiness. It was a blur, but I do remember there was a lot of tears. Happy tears!
BS: Each design in this collection really has its own vibe. In a few words, how would you style each bag?
SE: I truly believe each bag is multifunctional and can be worn in different ways, allowing women to rock them in various ways based on the vibe of their look of the day. The belt bag is the silhouette I originally fell in love with because I found it so easy to use and I love being hands-free. The first one I owned I wore every single day for almost two months. I often wear mine with athleisure looks; like one of my many sweatsuits or activewear after a workout if I need to run errands. I prefer to wear my belt bags crossbody, but during the winter months, I wear it around my waist like a belt, overtop my outerwear.
Our crossbody Ziparoo bag is fun because it comes with two strap lengths. The longer one allows you to wear it cross body, with the shorter strap turning the piece into a shoulder bag. I’m going to be wearing this piece with dresses this summer during the daytime and jeans or leather pants in the evening for dinner or date nights once restrictions have lifted and the city opens up again. The tote is my go-to for travel, meetings and any time I am on the go and need a little extra cargo room for my things. The best part is that our buttery soft vegan lambskin tote literally goes with anything. Every time I’ve worn the Saddle bag, I’ve paired it with classic denim and tee look or a crisp white button-up. It’s so clean, classic and chic.
BS: How did you get connected with Ela in the first place?
SE: I’ve known Ela for many years now and was first introduced through a mutual friend Talia Brown and of course, would see her and hubby Martin at industry events. I’ve known a few Ela pieces, however, it was the original belt bag that stole my heart. My adoration for that bag got us talking about a year ago. Then we started chatting about working together and the rest is history.
BS: Ela Handbags is known for being 100% vegan. Why was it so important for you to collab with a cruelty-free & sustainable brand?
SE: I am trying to do my part to be more conscious in all aspects in my life. Reducing my carbon footprint, choosing to buy more products made of sustainable materials and of course cruelty-free. I’ve always been aware that the way we consume products can affect our environment, but after becoming a mother I have a more vested interest in helping make this world a better place for the next generation.
BS: You’ve really had quite the year! When you look back on everything, is there an event or moment that sticks out the most?
SE: Wow, well this is a tough question! Besides the belt bag selling out in record time, signing a development deal with eONE for my podcast and TV show was very exciting. I am still pinching myself and cannot wait to get started on this passion project.
BS: Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s coming down the pipeline for you later this year?
SE: Our team has a LOT of exciting things in the hopper and I am not great at keeping secrets. For the time being, I can’t share too much about what’s coming up next, but I will say that I am going to be delving more into designing, which is something I’ve fallen in love with.
Featured Image: Sasha Exeter x Ela Handbags