Wednesday, July 6, 2016

 Hard to believe it's already been 1.5 years since we released the Forestbound ESCAPE Canvas Utility Bag. Time flies! This bag has become our best seller and there are many of them out in the world being used and loved by our customers. I thought it might be nice to revisit the origins of the ESCAPE Bag and tell a bit more of its story .. 

I found the vintage canvas bag that inspired our ESCAPE Bag many years ago at my favorite Massachusetts flea market. When I'm scouring the aisles at flea markets, my eye immediately goes to old canvas. Sometimes this leads to digging through piles of junk to uncover something dingy that I take one look at and throw back immediately into the pile, but other times I uncover gold. I saw the corner of an old white canvas bag poking out from under a stack of fabric. When I tugged on the corner of the bag to get a better look, my heart dropped and it was love at first sight. This old, worn in canvas bag was perfect in itself, but the fact that it had 'escape' written across the front made it even better. 

I brought the bag home with me and cleaned it up with my other vintage canvas finds from the day - a good soak in the tub with Oxyclean, scrubbin' out the leftover dirt, and then hang on my clothesline to dry - and once it was dry I put it on the shelf in our living room next to a few of my other favorite old canvas tool bags. I get attached to old canvas bags and sometimes like to just admire them instead of use them every day. 

Over the next few years everyone who came over to my house commented on how great the canvas bag with 'escape' on the front was. I posted a photo on Instagram way early on (when I definitely overused filters and saturation) and people loved it there too. So then I thought, huh maybe I should make a version of this bag so people other than me can enjoy it. 

I sat with that idea for a few more years and during this time did hours of researching to try and find the origin of the vintage bag and maybe even hunt down a few more of them. With no tags anywhere on the bag to use as a reference point, I ended up coming up short. Finally in the fall of 2014 I reached out to a designer who I really admired, Mason McFee, to see if he would help me come up with the perfect font to use for my interpretation of the vintage canvas bag.

Over a number of weeks Mason and I went through a handful of revisions before he finally perfected the ESCAPE that we have now. Mason worked with letters that he found in old newspapers and tweaked them just right so that it felt like the perfect fit and feel for the bag that I wanted to create.

So there you have it! A long, rambling story about how the current ESCAPE Bag came to be. All of the bags I've created over the years with Forestbound have played a tribute to history and honored forgotten materials of the past. I like to think of our ESCAPE Bag as honoring the vintage one made decades ago and giving it a new life.  

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