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These Beaded Bags Are Fun as Hell

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Susan Alexandra makes sunshine you can carry.

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Merry Bags from Susan Alexandra Photo: @Susan_Alexandra

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“It” bags are practically synonymous with status and exclusivity. Chanel, Gucci, JW Anderson: They're expensive, generally uniform in style, and, after a while, boring. So it came as a big (pleasant) surprise to see the streets of New York Fashion Week filled with Susan Alexandra’s colorful, quirky beaded bags. They’re far from the norm because they’re a much more unstuffy option, and I imagine that’s why so many people wanted them.

Alexandra founded her namesake jewelry line in 2014, but the new bags are well on their way to stealing the spotlight — probably because they instantly make you think of good, happy things like camp-made friendship bracelets, bouquets, and fresh fruit. (You know, the best stuff.)

Each bag is made locally in New York’s Chinatown out of more than 300 beads; they’re fun and sparkly and sturdy, and they were just what I needed to see running back and forth from shows in the rain last week.

Alexandra started making the bags in April by accident. “It really started because I wanted to have a custom bag for myself,” she shared over the phone between market appointments. “I just had this idea, I found a person to make it, and I made myself a bag.” Naturally she put it on Instagram, and voilà — people wanted their own.

And while the bags became available on her website soon after, and at Opening Ceremony last summer, Alexandra says that she feels the collection is just now leveling up, giving credit to Fashion Week. The bags are hard to miss on their own, but on the arms of #influential Instagram girls (I know, but it's true!) like Reese Blutstein of @double3xposure and Courtney Trop of @alwaysjudging, there was little chance of them sneaking under the radar.

A post shared by Courtney Trop (@alwaysjudging) on

“The thing that’s cool is that the girls, the influencers (if there’s a better word for it), have such a global reach,” she says. It was the push she and the brand needed after reaching out to nearly every store and never hearing back. “Now because of the influencers, the stores are reaching out to me, and that’s honestly such a dream.”

Last month, the brand entered cool Bay Area e-comm shop Lisa Says Gah with two bag styles. Today, both are totally sold out. The bags range in price from $120 to $315, which makes more than enough sense given that they’re each made by hand and will, without question, brighten your day.

“We’re in winter,” Alexandra says. “It’s so dreary; I think people just are desperate for some color right now.”