by Kara Hugglestone/Sail Couture
Ella Vickers Sailcloth Collection makes sailcloth bags you will love as much as sailing. A passionate sailor herself, Ella was one of the first to repurpose sails into bags. Twenty years later she continues to make captivating items out of this unique medium.
Each year Ella expands her collection of designs. It’s exciting to see what is new, but it also means it’s good to act quickly if you like something as room is always being made for new things.
If you are not a fan yet, you soon will be – she is offering Sail Couture readers a special discount: 10% off anything on her website with code: SAILCOUTURE!
I first discovered the Ella Vickers Sailcloth Collection while shopping the quaint shops of Annapolis. It was years ago now, but I still recall how thrilled I was to find the perfect sailing duffle. It was her signature “original sailcloth duffle,” white Dacron with contrasting orange fabric and a rakish blue number set at an angle. Mine has served me well for nearly ten years.
It’s interesting to see how that initial purchase has morphed into numerous totes, handbags, duffles and more. Warning, Ella’s products can be a bit addicting – in a good way.
How wonderful that so many of her bags are made from recycled sails, which otherwise would likely end up in a landfill. That fact was actually the inspiration for her collection.
Back in 1989, as first mate on Newport’s famed America’s Cup yacht Columbia, Ella was changing sails one day and realized the owners were making plans to toss the old ones. She requested to take them home instead and experimented a bit that night. Ella had been taught to sew by her great-grandmother and the skills paid off. She created three large totes and the next day they didn’t even make it to work. She sold all three off her arm while walking to Columbia.
Although Ella loved her life as a professional sailor, she did have ambitions beyond. Suddenly a new career was born. The rest as they say is history.
Today Ella presides over a successful international design and manufacturing business. In an increasingly competitive sail bag market, it’s Ella’s sophisticated designs that sets her apart.
I’m in love with her Monaco bag; I get compliments each time I carry it. It can go anywhere with its effortless elegance. Workday tote, to posh dinner, to weekend at the beach, it’s your bag.
Another favorite bag is the St. Barths Bag. It’s a sleek, flat handbag that fits perfectly over the shoulder or as a clutch. the black bag with Kevlar is particularly versatile. I’m not the only one; Jennifer Hinkel, founder of Resilience Racing, a sailing team of cancer survivors, loves hers. Resilience Racing is a wonderful organization, you can learn more about them here and follow on Facebook here.
“It’s dressy enough to carry at a black tie and a wonderful way to integrate your love of sailing with the rest of your life,” Jennifer said.
Two of Ella’s best sellers are actually her rope totes and wine bag. The rope totes are a perfect size for daily life… Boat tote, grocery bag, beach bag, the uses are endless. They can be customized with letters, numbers and insignias.
Ella’s Wine Bag is chic and comfortable way to transport your wine. They make great gifts too. How wonderful to present a bottle of wine to a sailor wrapped this way.
New introductions are the Sail Tote Large which is roomy, over-sized bag in Ella’s signature white, blue and orange and the elegant Navigation Collection in black sailcloth and beige trim.
The Navigation Line was inspired by Ella’s love for sailing at night. She was guided by the celestial stars and felt at peace in the open black waters. The designs and images in her head that came to be the Navigation Collection was the perfect complement to the cool weather days that come with fall and winter.
With its black Dacron sailcloth and beige trim, it’s a perfect complement to cooler weather. Navigation is a complete collection, including a variety of totes, duffles and even wine bag and tablet case.
There are also many fun things for the home too: directors chairs, bean bags, dog beds, shower curtains and more.
Ella now lives in Wrightsville Beach, NC with her family, husband and fellow sailor Tony and their two young children. Together they enjoy sailing their Soverel 48 and their Lightning dinghy, which they race locally.
I’m particularly thankful Ella decided to rescue those sails so many years ago. My life on and off the water are that much more beautiful for her creations.
Remember to use code SAILCOUTURE for 10% off site-wide on EllaVickers.com!
Kara Hugglestone is a San Francisco-based branding professional, accessory designer, sailor and traveler. When time permits, she also indulges in her passion for things classic: cars, movies, wine and fashion. You can follow her on Twitter at @gallerykara.
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