You've never seen the eighties like this before.

"You will never run into someone carrying your exact bag."

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By Christina Pippin

Local Shopping & Fashion Blogger

Mondays here at the Shopping Blog bring you all things green! Today’s eco-friendly find is from Fly Bird of Oak Park (719 Lake Street) which hosts a most wonderfully curious menagerie of products for home, body, and mind.

Fly Bird carries a collection of arresting, refurbished handbags by Brigid’s Bags. Brigid Murphy, of Chicago, reimagines dusty bowling bags, vintage doctor bags, and antique airline luggage into head-turning handbags.

Brigid transforms these stuffy, old bags into sleek and stylish handbags, cool carryalls, and the perfect portmanteau for men and women. Her one-of-a-kind bags are recycled, rescued from basements, garages, and thrift shops, and they date back to the 1900’s or as recently as the 1980’s (I don't remember the eighties ever looking this good!).

Each structured silhouette is cooler than the next, and they’re unlike any you’ll see anywhere else. They have all been meticulously restored and each is lined with an array of rich upholstery fabrics from lush velvets to colorful prints and classic toiles.

Some of the prolific designer's sturdy totes are made from rare hides like alligator, buffalo, and walrus, however, most are cowhide and in the case of the bowlers, many are Naugahyde — a very rare hide.

Brigid has thought of it all. Since most of these bags were originally designed to be carried by hand, and many of us like the option of slinging a bag over our shoulder, she has included a new removable leather shoulder strap.

She’s constantly creating new bags, so if you’ve missed you’re chance to pick up the perfect match, never fear, you’ll find more fun choices to choose from at Fly Bird.

Stop by next Monday for another green find from one of our neighborhood retailers. See you around town and in the shops!

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Reader Comments

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Kate from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 24th, 2011 11:45 AM

I ALWAYS bring out-of-towners here - and they always want to come back the next time. Which I'm fine with me because there's always something new to check out and giggle over.

Lisa Dodge from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2011 12:09 PM

Flybird always has the coolest stuff...I love going in to check out what is new!

Christina from  

Posted: March 8th, 2011 7:33 PM

@DC: Fly Bird has lots of jewelry, too! @Dave: While Brigid was encouraged to mass-produce her bags, she opted out; each bag is handmade in her home and the craftsmanship is phenomenal. I think the myriad colors and styles appeal to a wide age range. From your daughter's age, all the way to, err, my age. :)

David Hammond from  

Posted: March 8th, 2011 12:33 PM

I'm not one to believe we lost the Golden Age long ago and everything is now much worse than it used to be, but there's something about the craftsmanship of these refurbished bags that appeals so much more than twenty-first century's mass-produced stuff. I mean, I know this stuff was mass-produced, too, but the personality and style is so strong. I'll alert my daughters to these beautiful bags.


Posted: March 8th, 2011 9:55 AM

They have cool buttons there, too!

Steve from Oak Park  

Posted: March 7th, 2011 8:17 PM

I'm not usually one for handbags but I love to see fine craftsmanship and learn about local businesses. Thanks Christina!

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