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monsak: handmade bags from Amsterdam

How beautiful handmade items be, is something I realised after I started sewing my own clothes. And this is the same for accessories and bags, obviously. So today I’d like to introduce you to monsak, an Amsterdam bag brand that turns leather waste into bags for life. Everything is locally made and their designs are timeless, yet stylish. Getting curious? Let’s take a deep dive into it!

Let me introduce you to monsak!

monsak is a Dutch brand producing high end leather bags in small quantities in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. All bags are made in their own studio from rescued leather. So what is rescued leather?

margriet monsak

The leather from monsak

During the whole process of creating the leather, a lot of things can go wrong. For example, scars on the animal hides, differences in tanning or colour, or even designers changing their mind about the colour, or the sample colours didn’t turn out as designers had visioned them. Half of all produced leather is therefore regarded and ends up unused. For example, sample leather to test out new colours or finishes, won’t be used for big productions, but monsak also buys these one of a kind hides to create something with it.

monsak sees it as their mission to reduce this leather waste. These skins are rejected by big fashion houses, because of damages or discolouring. However, with the skills and knowledge at monsak, they’re able to work with these skins anyways; they’ll adjust the pattern cutting like so that they can use all the good parts. As their production is very small and limited, they can always make something out of it. The very small pieces after the pattern cutting, with which they can’t do anything either, are being resold in order to get use of every piece of the hide. This reduces waste from the industry and offers a creative and sustainable solution to conventional leather.

The design

All bags from monsak are designed with the perfect bag in mind. They have only one collection that doesn’t change season after season. With the one of a kind hides they have, they’re able to produce 1 to 3 bags in each colour. The colours do change during the year, but the designs stay strong.

monsak believes, when you have one perfect bag, you don’t need a dozen of different ones. As leather is such a durable material, you’ll be able to use your bag many many years to come. Also, when you adore your perfect bag, you will continue using it. And in the end, it’s also more sustainable to use what you have and not buy something new every season.

A bag only for you

Another amazing feature monsak offers is the possibility to customise your bag. When you visit their customisation page, you’ll be able to customise their designs with the colours you like or add some additional features. This is slightly more expensive, but it’ll allow you adjust the bag to your own wishes.

If you rather design a bag fully yourself, you can also let that happen. Maybe you’ve always dreamt of a certain bag, or your favourite bag broke down and you’d like to have an exact replacement. Margriet, the founder of monsak, makes this especially for you. Of course, it’s more expensive, but you’ll have your ultimate perfect bag and you’ll never use something else. Which is, obviously, much more sustainable in the long run.

monsak workshops

Would you like to learn more about bags, bag making and how to do it yourself? You can join one of their workshops – the Mini, the Maxi or the DIY-project.

The Mini workshop is a workshop of just a few hours, which is a great way to get to know the process behind making a bag. This workshop is especially great for beginners. You’ll realise how time consuming and precise the process is, which will make you think twice once you see cheap bags. Handwork takes time and love.

The Maxi workshop is a full day workshop including a lunch. You don’t need to be experienced for this workshop, but when you are, it may come in handy. During this workshop you’ll learn how to make your own shoulder bag or backpack. At the end of the, day you’ll have a self-made bag to carry home, how exciting!

The mon-DIY-projects is a workshop/project to do at home. You’ll order a crafts kit and with an instruction video you’ll be able to create a beautiful bag yourself.

Check out their website for more information about the workshops!

How I like monsak and how to style it

I love my silver Sak 6. Even though it’s silver, the design itself is so timeless, that I’m able to wear it year-round year after year. Besides that, the colour adds a little bit extra to every plain outfit. And even combined with other colours, it stays harmonious because of the classic shape. The Sak 6 is available in multiple colours.

Additionally, I love the size of the bag. It’s big enough to fit my laptop and a bottle of water, but small enough to carry around all day.

Here I’ve styled my bag with high waisted jeans from Kuyichi and me made wrap blazer.

Shop monsak here

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