By Diana Cavagnaro
Virgil James is a handbag business started by a local businessman, Jay McGoodwin. These bags have impeccable workmanship and are made with the finest quality materials. This luxury brand is timeless and carried as pieces of one-of-a-kind art and limited editions. The palettes include black, taupe, burgundy and natural tan. There are four styles for men including a briefcase, satchel, backpack and weekender. The fashionable looks for women include a clutch, cross body, bucket, tote, day bag, and the No. 8 bag from the Original Collection. This ingenious bag comes with a removable panel and is made with one-of-a-kind original art printed on Italian Canvas. You can change it up by adding different panels made with leather, art, or felt.
Each bag is numbered as a limited-edition series or a unique piece. This is a must have ‘Fashion as Art’ bag. Felt is used on some of the panels which is made from cashmere goats in Mongolia. The fiber is short so it must be mixed with a soft sheep’s wool to produce the most marvelous felt. Virgil James has also added components with artisan elements. All the hardware such as zippers, pulls, feet’s, buttons, rings are made by the company and they hand pound the handle rings.
McGoodwin explained how he first got started in fashion. He said he used to travel and fly all over the world and invested in many bags and briefcases. After collecting these quality bags as he travelled around, he noticed that something was missing. McGoodwin began looking at the possibility of creating his own brand with style. He became acquainted with an accessories designer at the London School of Fashion who helped him get the ball rolling. It was expensive and time consuming but after four or five years he was ready to launch the first collection of these original handbags. McGoodwin has been producing this high-end, utilitarian, and sustainable product now for three years. Currently, they are sold online and they maintain a company showroom at their studio offices in Solana Beach.
What is truly exciting about these bags is that they are independent of seasons and trends. McGoodwin draws from his travels around the world in naming his collections: Originals, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires and Reykjavik reflecting the natural wonders of Iceland. His website is filled with amazing stories about the process of making these pieces of art. They also have added credit card cases, laptop covers, and passport cases.
In the future, McGoodwin wants to use the handbag as the frame and add more creative materials such as mud cloth, silks, and tartans to the removable panels. The biggest key here is sustainability. Each bag will give a lifetime of use and they are all made here in the USA. In this era of fast fashion, we see all the master craftsmen dwindling around the globe. It would be tragic to see the artisans of the world all disappear.
If you would like a glimpse of these elegant and stylish handbags made by master craftsmen visit www.virgiljames.com.
September 26, 2020 – 16th annual Virtual Event, “Strut for Sobriety!” The event will have an award ceremony and fashion show to be held by A New PATH. The event celebrates recovery from drug addiction. Fashion show produced by Gretchen Productions. For info: 619-6701184.
October 17, 2020 – Fashion Week San Diego 2020 now has passes on sale for their virtual runway show with nine designers. Purchase your Virtual Front Row Pass at www.fashionweekdsd.com.
— Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned Couture Milliner based in Alpine, California. Learn more about our Hat Designer, Teacher & Blogger at www.DianaCavagnaro.com.