Ethical accessory spotlight: Sarah’s Bag

Sarah’s Bag is a Lebanese fashion house and social enterprise that creating one-of-a- kind luxury hand crafted bags and accessories which empower both the women who make them and the women who wear them.

Born and raised in Beirut, Founder and creative director Sarah Beydoun designs handbags and accessories that are known for incredibly intricate craftsmanship, attention to detail and vibrant, high-spirited appeal.

Launched 18 years ago Sarah’s Bag brings together the founders love of fashion and design with the mission to empower underprivileged women.

On a mission to keep ancient techniques alive, each collection is both an exploration of new materials and techniques, and a revival and reinterpretation of traditional crafts such as hand beading, embroidery, sequinning, crocheting and fabric manipulation. An artisan can work up to 25 hours on a single piece to bring these designs to life. From minimalist masterpiece statement clutches to the revamped traditional woodwork techniques – such as marquetry and wood and pearl inlay – seen used on some of the most unique and glamorous minaudières you will ever see, the brand consistently delivers on breathtaking design.

As both a fashion label and social enterprise, Sarah’s Bag works to empower underprivileged women. The signature hand beading and embroidery the bags are known for is meticulously crafted by a team of over 200 women, among whom are female prisoners, ex-prisoners and underprivileged women in Lebanon. Sarah’s unconventional journey in fashion began during her final year of a graduate degree in sociology, when she was conducting research at Dar Al Amal, an NGO that rehabilitates women at risk and female ex-prisoners. Soon after, she decided to set up a business that would train and employ the women she’d met during her fieldwork.

Most of the designs are created to showcase the skills these women possess. Trained by the Sarah’s Bag team, they are skilled artisans in their own right and some have been with the company since it first launched in May of 2000. Once out of prison, Sarah’s Bag encourages its artisans to train other women in their towns and villages, thus creating much-needed jobs in some of the poorer communities in Lebanon. With a new elevated status they can be reintegrated into society and step out from the stigma of being ex-prisoners. Some of the women are illiterate with few options for employment, while others come from conservative backgrounds and are not allowed to work outside their homes despite desperately needing an income to help support their families.

Find out more about this incredible brand here.