We’re definitely seeing a 90s resurgence at the minute. It seems like just about everyone is feeling nostalgic for the decade that was all about chokers, baggy Mom jeans, jelly shoes, double denim, and TV shows like Full House and Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
As someone born in the early 90s, a big part of my childhood was spent watching Disney films on our well-loved VHS player. My favourites being the Lion King (1 & 2 equally, which seems to shock a lot of people!), I used to love rewinding the tapes so that I could watch my favourite bits over and over, and fast forwarding to skip over any sad or scary moments. I still remember a time of looking forward to it being Friday, because that meant going to the library or video store (Blockbuster, anyone?!) to rent films to watch over the weekend, and watching them as many times as possible before returning them on a Monday.
Now that we live in an age of online streaming, I feel like we don’t get that same excitement anymore. Even DVDs are slowly becoming obsolete. I can’t tell you how many culmative hours a week I spend scrolling through Netflix, trying to find something decent to watch, but inevitably settling on another four episodes of Gilmore Girls that I’ve watched a hundred times over. The magic of the video store has well and truely disappeared.
Except, not entirely. My friend Heather had the genius idea of upcycling old VHS cases to make into some gorgeous and unique handbags, and has set up her own Etsy store where she sells them. I got together with her recently to model some of the lovely bags that she currently has in stock.
The origin of this idea began when she made herself a handbag out of a Grinch VHS case for a Christmas party last year, and it was very well received. “I got lots of compliments, it made a great conversation starter!” She told me, “And people said it was a great idea and they’d buy one, so that gave me the confidence to go for it! I also made a couple as gifts for people which went down well too.” I have witnessed first-hand Heather gifting some of these bags within our friendship group, and they are indeed very well received by all.
Though it’s the majority of what’s in her shop at the moment, the VHS bags aren’t all Disney specific. At the moment she has one of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for all those Potterheads out there, as well as Grease, Shrek, and even Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I’ve also heard on the grapevine (and by that I mean I asked her) that she’s planning on making some more seasonal ones for the upcoming holidays that are much anticipated! So as you can see, there’s a little something for everyone.
What’s great about Heather’s handmade VHS handbags is that they are so unique. While there are a few variations of the VHS clutch floating around on the interwebs, Heather definitely puts her own spin on hers, digging up some of your old favourite films to get nostalgic over for a very fair price. Having had a peek into some of her various boxes of empty VHS cases, she also doesn’t own very many doubles of the films themselves, making a bag not only a great statement piece and conversation starter, but almost one of a kind!
I definitely couldn’t rave about these bags more. They’re the perfect size to keep your phone, keys, a bit of money and even a few make up bits, and inside each bag is a nice fleecey lining to make sure your essentials are nicely cushioned. The chain that comes with it is 120cm long, and depending how tall you are and how you wear it, will sit nicely on your hip. The chain is detachable as well, so you can even take it off to wear it as a clutch should you wish.
VHS handbags may not be where Heather stops either. Being a former art student and quite the crafty lady (if you can’t tell?!), she’s also quite handy with the sewing machine. One day, her obsession with Totoro lead her to make a giant plushy version of him so she could have her very own Totoro to cuddle. She has since made more characters, not only for herself, but again to gift to friends, and it could well be something you may find popping up on her shop at some point. “It’s been on my mind from the start, which is why I made my shop name quite broad so it wasn’t just about the video handbags in case I did diversify what I do. But its a case of finding the time really!” Let’s hope she does find the time because LOOK HOW ADORABLE!
What do you think of Heather’s upcycled bags? Do you think she should branch out into small plush toys as well?