Australian expats Sarah Saxty and Lauren Kozica met in New York and set out to design a bag that could carry everything a girl needs during 24 hours in the city. What happened next was fledgling accessories brand OVERT and it’s now semi-cult status first signature piece. Designed to hold a yoga mat, laptop and your make up bag, the Argentinian leather and flight nylon Noho bag has comfy backpack straps, zip pockets, a removable pouch, top handle and comes in two material varieties – nylon and leather, $450, or neoprene, $360. Fundamentally, it’s made to move. No wonder a fast-growing list of US-based stylerati – like America’s Next Top Model winner Sophie Sumner, Little Black Boots blogger Jill Wallace, model Chelsea Layland and fitness star Nicole Winhoffer – have them slung over their shoulders. GRAZIA spoke to Sarah Saxty (below left, with Lauren) in New York.
How did the idea for the Noho bag come about? “The bag was born from the fact that for a city girl, life is always on the go, on the commute. There’s a term: the New York bag ladies. We noticed that girls in New York are almost always carrying more than one bag because, in reality, we need a lot of shit to get us through a day. From sporty canvas totes to carry the extra pieces that don’t fit in your Celine pouch, to over-stuffed leather totes that give us shoulder damage, or mini “fashion” backpacks that don’t really fit anything in them, the problem is REAL. We wanted the bag to combat that and if the number of emails we get from girls that have newly converted to the Noho are anything to go by, it does.”
How long did it take to design and were there any hiccups along the way? “Yes – lots! I remember countless nights brainstorming the design over bottles of wine at my apartment or Lauren’s. We were very proud to see the first sample from the first factory. In fact we nearly cried – it was our baby come to life. We often felt like we were in a real life scene of “How to Make It In America” which was kind of cool, albeit exhausting schlepping around the Garment District day after day. Sourcing the materials and finding a factory were the biggest hurdles.”
Do you both have fashion backgrounds? “My background is in fashion all the way from retail through to buying, production, merchandising, design. Lauren’s is in wholesale and also design. We are really lucky we have both had such varied experiences and bring something different to the table – we often say how lucky we are that we are almost always on the same page, we are upfront and honest with each other and always have been.”
How do you feel about the Noho being called the new it-girl bag in NYC? “We always like to think of it as the new ‘basic’ bag – like a pair of Nikes, or Rag & Bone skinny jeans. It’s an essential to New York or to any city life, so maybe not so much an it-bag, but the bag. We have always said it’s not going to replace your Celine, or your Mansur Gavriel, your Michael Kors or Kate Spade, but it will become your vehicle for getting around the city or to travel on a day-to-day basis, while still looking just as cute as your other bags.”
What’s next for OVERT? “Where do I start? There are so many wonderful ideas to be explored. The best part about being so young in this day is that we are so agile. It could be all about building our website one week, and the next we decide it’s all about designing a new collection of products, or building out networking events for our girls. All things we are working on day by day. Right now – our biggest focus is definitely to share the love, spread the word and help ‘city girls’ over the globe stop being bag ladies.”
Some recent Noho Insta-love