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The artist turning old Louis Vuitton bags into pieces of furniture

Sarah Coleman reworks iconic logos and patterns on everyday items

The artist turning old Louis Vuitton bags into pieces of furniture Sarah Coleman reworks iconic logos and patterns on everyday items

Giving a second life to products is a rising trend in streetwear culture, especially now that sustainability and pre-loved items are in the spotlight. From Ancuta Sarca to Nicole McLaughlin's crazy slides, more and more young creatives marry upcycling and DIY philosophy to create interesting projects. 

Sarah Coleman is the latest to have become very popular. The artist is known for her ability to turn Louis Vuitton and other luxury brands' bags into small household items or furniture. The destruction of a Fendi Baguette or an LV Keepall may seem a fashion crime to many, but for the 30-year-old New Yorker, those are just raw materials to shape. 

Born and raised in Manhattan, Sarah grew up with a mother and grandmother who instilled her love for fashion, but she realized only long after that this passion would inspire her artworks. She started as a child cutting and reworking her father's shirts and, later on, she improved her technique and aesthetic taste working for Peter Marino, the arch star known worldwide for revolutionizing the concept of luxury boutiques. After the failed attempt to found her own clothing brand (Unni by Sarah) and the experience as art director for the Mercer Hotel, the real turning point in Coleman's career came in 2019 when she started to focus on design. The winning idea hit, as often happens, almost by chance, while she saw a collection of small folding chairs outside of a massage parlour in downtown Manhattan. She bought some of them and, once back home, she dressed them using a Louis Vuitton luggage that belonged to her father. 

I’ve always taken things apart and put them back together. The process is really important. Working with luxury materials and vintage, taking them apart, making them into objects or furniture, it happened really organically. I was trying not to buy stuff and just repurpose things I had.- Sarah said - I had the idea that I would start taking objects that are very basic - cleaning bottles, for instance - and covering the label. I had seen people doing lighters and one day I thought a folding chair would be cute. Going through my closet, I found this old garment bag that was my dad’s, and the zipper was broken, so I upholstered this small folding chair with it. 

Why Louis Vuitton?

I just love their stuff - she confessed openly - I think the material is really, really amazing quality and the quality of the fabrication of the chair as a result is that level; it's Louis Vuitton-quality, the sewing, the craftsmanship, the details.

The result, posted on her Instagram account, guaranteed the young designer over 33k followers and great popularity. The Eames armchairs and chairs are her most appreciated works. In order to keep up with her large client base, Coleman produces 10-15 per month (a mini folding chair will cost you around $2,000, while standard size ones are closer to $3,000) and finds the bags to use as raw material online or in thrift shops. 

Sarah disassembles the bags piece by piece and covers the new models with their canvas. Everything in each bag is recycled: handles decorate the backrest and nylon goes under the seats to reinforce them, and also labels, zippers, etc. are used... Everything that remains covers small household items. 

More recently, in fact, the artist has started to customize with the most famous prints of LV, Gucci, Fendi, Prada various objects such as plungers, matchboxes, bottles, coffee cup holders, bottles of pills, patches, lighters, ... so many to occupy every corner of her apartment in Greenwich Village. 

Very interesting is the project realized in collaboration with Garage Magazine for which Coleman has revisited with her style a series of vintage items such as a vacuum cleaner and a mixer. 

Someone compared Sarah's work to Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades, while others didn't appreciate her irreverent approach to famous brands, although she said:

It's not because of the label. It's fun taking something that I can find, something used, and taking it apart, and creating something beautiful from it. I like looking at beautiful things.

Her creations are true pieces of art.

They're each different; they're signed, they have their own number, they're art pieces…I’m not trying to mass produce the same chair.