It took less than two years for Brigitte MacGowan and Desley Maidment to dream up, design and create a bag that is now adorning the arms of celebrities.
The Sydney duo, who had no prior experience in fashion design, drew inspiration for their carryall tote from a single piece of neoprene fabric.
‘We ended up sitting at the sewing machine and, multiple samples and 12 months of product development later, came up with the idea for the State of Escape bag,’ Ms MacGowan told Daily Mail Australia.
It’s in the bag: The State of Escape carryall, made with neoprene and sailing rope, is popular with celebrities
Fashion niche: The bag was designed by Sydney residents Brigitte MacGowan and Desley Maidment
Since then the bag, which retails at $299, has gone on to be used by the likes of Olivia Palermo, Lauren Bush, Sam Frost and Lisa Wilkinson.
‘I think a lot of our customers buy the bag to use on weekends and travelling, but end up using it every day,’ Ms MacGowan said.
‘It might be they take it to the gym in the morning, put the laptop in it and take it to work and use it for travelling and children.
‘It’s so multi-functional, it really becomes your 80 per cent bag.’
Celebrity favourite: The bag has been used by the likes of Olivia Palermo, Lauren Bush, Sam Frost and Lisa Wilkinson
Wardrobe staple: The women said the carryall is purchased as a weekend or travel bag, but customers ended up using it 80 per cent of the time
What sets the bag apart is its unique design.
The fabric itself is a neoprene, a fabric used to make wetsuits, that is light-weight, stretchy and machine washable.
Sailing rope is used as framework for the bag giving it both strength and structure to carry a heavy load.
Unique design: The sailing rope is used as framework for the bag giving it strength and structure
Taking a leap: Ms MacGowan’s background is in graphic design, while Ms Maidment worked in fashion recruitment
The clever design is made even more so by the fact neither Ms MacGowan or Ms Maidment had ever designed a bag before.
Ms MacGowan’s background is in graphic design, while Ms Maidment worked in fashion recruitment.
‘I definitely think there was a niche in the market for a product like this,’ Ms MacGowan said.
In addition to their signature ‘Escape’ bag, the women have introduced a ‘Freestyle’ cross-body tote with more designs on the way.
Going global: The women hope to further promote the bag, which is made in Australia, to an overseas market
The bag is made in Australia, with each piece of fabric individually cut, and stocked in Bassike and Incu as well as a number of individual retailers.
While the brand is currently available in the US, Japan and New Zealand, Ms Maidment said this year they planned to focus on expanding their international reach.
‘We’ve had some interest in Europe as well,’ she said.
‘I think that goes to show the universal nature of the bag and the appeal to our customer.’