Artisanal America: Bags That Were Born in the USA

As a thunderstorm rumbles outside, announcing the arrival of another poor excuse for a Parisian Summer, I am compelled to pack a suitcase and take off for my homeland- where seasons seemed to synch up with my expectations in such a satisfactory way. You can't change the weather, but you can always attempt to escape it- and my rose-colored vision of Summers in the US makes the motherland seem like a perfect asylum from this crumby continental weather. Which is why I'm counting down the days until I get back on my native land this August.

I know I won't be able to bring back any sunshine in my bags once the holiday is over, but I will be making some space for happy souvenirs and maybe even some extra carry-ons to contain them.

The Made-in-America bag scene seems to be booming Stateside at the moment, with those privy to the new fad sporting handmade sacs from every corner of the country.

I first noticed the trend while reporting on the Keep Portland Weird festival when Portland bands and fans convened at the Gaîté Lyrique in April.

At the concerts and various events, I noticed proud Portlanders rocking Chester Wallace bags, which are made in Portland by Portlanders. The waterproof bags are made out of waxed cotton and a sturdy adjustable strap.

Chester Wallace bags are touted as being the perfect parcel for carrying six packs across town while biking to a house party, making the City of Roses' obsession with the brand pretty logical.

Chester Wallace bags come in various colors and start at about 150 USD. You can buy them online or at selected stores in New York and Portland.

If you're looking for something a little classier than a canvas beer-toting bag, check out Brooklyn-based leather workers Rabbitneck + Dotty. Graphic design and fashion fuse to create their line of original handbags whose designs include repurposed drawer pulls, lighting fixtures, and other unexpected bits of hardware.

Keeping it classy, the Rabbitneck & Dotty design team coat all hardware in 16k gold which accents the European-bought leather used to make their line of bags, belts, and wallets. Prices vary and orders can be placed online via their website or at their store in Brooklyn.

For the international traveler whose trek requires a bag of both stellar form and function, Langly Camera Bags are the perfect fit. Evan Lane, the bag's creator, sites a desire to make something that is "functional but also fashionable" as the inspiration behind this craftily conceived bag.

Having a camera doesn't have to make you look/feel like a tourist and this pitfall of documenting your travel will be entirely avoided if you've got a Langly bag on your back. The California-made backpack has got you covered- with ample space for your camera, lenses, and even a special slot for your laptop.

Head to the brand's Kickstarter page and pledge to support the project. A pledge of 160 USD will get you you're very own Langly bag and pledges of various amounts will get you all kinds of other Langly-related goodies.

So whether you are in the US, or just wish you were, there are tons of ways to support the local, burgeoning bag-makers movement and score an awesome accessory to go with your Summer memories!