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Ella Vickers Sailcloth Collection: Nautical Design...

Ella Vickers Sailcloth Collection: Nautical Design with a Twist

by Kara Hugglestone

What’s nautical, practical, and ‘green’ while being oh so chic?

An Ella Vickers Sailcloth handbag of course.

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 excited 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.

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the original duffle that started it all…

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class duffles and totes are available too

It’s interesting to see how that initial purchase has morphed into three duffles, a messenger bag, a couple totes, a couple handbags, a wine tote and counting. Warning, EVSC can be a bit addicting…

I love that the bags are made from recycled sails, which otherwise would likely end up in a landfill. That fact was actually the inspiration for her collection.

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ella sailing columbia

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.

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the monaco bag looking at home in paris

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the monaco has to be one of my most favorite bags ever

Today Ella presides over a successful international design and manufacture business. She recently collaborated with a French designer creating some particularly chic designs. I’m in love with their 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.

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best sellers

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 too. I’m a big fan of the wine bag as a gift. How wonderful to present a bottle of wine to a sailor wrapped this way.

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the new venice leather handbag

Exciting new introductions are the Newport and Venice bags, which feature leather accents on white, navy or black sailcloth.

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the newport handbag in navy sailcloth

“We started adding leather to our bags and I’m absolutely in love with how they turned out. They are going to be great bags year-round and I’m excited to see how our customers react to them,” Ella said.

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calypso bag

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bimini bag

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abaco bag

I agree, the darker color options are perfect for fall and winter. Ella has fab resort options too. Her brightly colored designs are ideal and have names to match: Bimini, Calypso, Abaco. They are festive and fun and I hear steel drums just looking at them.

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cocktail cache

There really is an EVSC bag for every occasion. Looking for an evening bag for the Leukemia Cup Regatta VIP Dinner? Behold her Cocktail Cache.

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ella, tony and daughter melia

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. Marlo Thomas recently profiled Ella in her book, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over: Reinventing Your Life and Realizing Your Dreams – Anytime at Any Age.

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ella and melia

I love Ella’s quote in the book, “Everyone always says that when you’re past forty, you’re pretty much through crewing on sailboats. But I’ve found a way to keep sails in my life – and I’ve got good wind behind me.”

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!


Sail Couture is a San Francisco-based online magazine celebrating the sailing lifestyle! Covering sailing, fashion, travel, food & wine and more. Sign up for our newsletter to be in the know!

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