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Bags by Bubbies: Designer Toby Strogatz Works with Knitting Group to Create Upscale Handbags
Yummy matzah ball soup, big hugs and kisses, your favorite Chanukah presents. Just when we thought Bubbie couldn’t get any better, she’s started putting her knitting skills to good use with the launch of Mim & Ray, a new upscale handbag collection.
Mim & Ray handbags feature fine wool panel detailing, expertly and lovingly hand knitted by a senior adult artisan. The women get weekly assignments, along with instructions on the design and colorways, and get paid for their knitting. The program gives them a renewed sense of purpose and pride, as well as financial support for their retirement. The seniors knit in groups, strengthening life-long ties with some and making new friends with others.
“Mim & Ray handbags are not just an expression of great style. When a woman carries a Mim & Ray bag, she knows that she has made a difference. It’s an expression of great humanity. This collection is a culmination of design inspiration, love of high-end accessories, and the need to support the work of important organizations,” says Toby Strogatz, designer and company founder.
Each classically designed Italian-leather handbag includes signature knitted panels crafted by the knitters. A heartwarming story about the knitters and their sense of purpose, pride, friendship and love is included in each bag. The leather collection comes in a variety of neutral color palettes for year-round wearing. Prices range from $275 to $695. Each bag in the launch collection features elevated designs with premium materials and a classic, yet on-trend, point of view. The collection will launch for Fall 2017.
“I never would have thought these things would be so beautiful,” said Katie Willner, 83, of Northeast Philadelphia, examining one of the finished totes. “Would you imagine? I went to visit my son in Albuquerque, and he looked at the website and he would not believe! He said, ‘You’re making these?’”
Ella Kruglikov said, after she retired two years ago, she grew bored and depressed; she’d get into arguments at home just for something to do.
“I worked in a high-end jewelry store for 14 years, and when it was over, I was lost. It takes effort to get involved,” said Joyce Adelman, 77.
Prices range from $300 for clutches to $4,000 for exotic skins such as alligator. Buy them at mimandray.com.