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These Vegan Belt Bags Are Inspired By Hands-Free Heroines

Image via Hipsters for Sisters
Image via Hipsters for Sisters

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As evidenced by the stamps of approval from celeb style stars (Nicole Richie) to Style Scroll regulars, fannypacks have moved beyond offensively fug festival fashion and into stylish sidekick territory. The latest hands-free accessory to catch our eye in time for fashion month is Hipsters for Sisters, an LA-based line of eco-friendly belt bags.

Founded by Debra Denniston and her two daughters, Rachel and Kate, the two-year-old brand will launch their fall collection of minimalist-chic convertible carryalls with a high-end twist this Friday. Priced from $145 to $248, the cruelty-free and socially-conscious line is crafted from sustainably-made materials like vegan leather, organic cotton twill, natural hemp and low-lead brass. We had a chat with co-founder (and born-and-raised Cali girl) Rachel Denniston to learn more about how the brand got started, their past and present design muses, and more.

Always Judging blogger Courtney Trop in the Black Flat Belt Bag

What inspired you to start the line?
"It was my mother, Debra's, idea to start this company. She fell in love with the fanny pack when my sister and I were just toddlers. She used it to hold her keys and wallet, which enabled her to leave the diaper bag unattended as she ran around with us at the park.

My sister, Kate, and I joined the business when we experienced the joy of being hands-free for ourselves. We thought if we could combine the hands-free functionality of a fanny pack with the sophistication and craftsmanship of a high-end handbag, we would have the best of both worlds.

After months of designing and re-designing, we launched our first collection, the Classic Collection, in May 2012. Since then, we've added two more collections and many more styles. However, one thing that serves as a common thread throughout all of them is a focus on functionality. Although all of our bags are designed to be hands-free, many of them can be used as either a clutch or wallet for those occasions where a belt bag just doesn't work. We call it 'clutch if you must.'"

Who are your design muses?
"Since we are all about the joy of less, we really appreciate true minimalist style. We are forever influenced by the queen of hands-free herself, Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt. Historically, we are influenced by women like Amelia Earhart and Katharine Hepburn, as well as contemporary artists and thought leaders like Yoko Ono, Shirin Neshat, Barbara Kruger and the Guerrilla Girls. We also find ourselves inspired by the style of many of the brilliant fashion bloggers who share our minimalist aesthetic."

What can we expect from Hipsters for Sisters in the future?
"Hipsters for Sisters is determined to change the world. Maybe not in a huge way, but in an important way. From the start, our main goal has been to liberate women from their baggage. If men can get through the day with only what they can fit into their pockets, we can too.

Ultimately, our goal is to continue our quest to give women the finest, functional, and hands-free alternatives to the traditional handbag. Now that we've begun to establish ourselves as the 'go-to' shop for belt bags both here in the U.S. and in Europe, we aim to keep developing and improving on our designs. We have a great relationship with our customers because we are open to feedback. We really listen to what they say and incorporate their feedback into our designs."
· Hipsters for Sisters [Official Site]
· 15 Crossbody Bags For Easy, Hands-Free Livin' [Racked]
· LA's Bandolier Keeps Sample Sale Shoppers Hands-Free in Style [Racked]