Garland Bags: Where high-end home decor meets fashion.
Words by Olivia Ryan
Photos by Siobhan Egan
Picture a total babe throwing her head back, eyes closed, and saying “faaaabulous” from the back of her throat. That’s Lindsay Thomas. Spunk and sass and every-thing you would want from your clutch designer.
I’ve never heard someone talk about fabric the way Lindsay does.
“There’s just no reason these insanely gorgeous interior design fabrics should be stuck inside your house. They deserve to be taken out for a spin on the town.”
Lindsay launched Garland Bags, a luxury clutch company, when a Pinterest experiment involving pillow fabric remnants, cardboard, and a hot glue gun went right.
It was June 2017 when she posted that first clutch pic on Instagram, and it just “took.” People wanted one, and Lindsay was hooked.
For 10 years, Lindsay had worked in a corporate setting, but her creative side was dying to be let loose.“When I met my husband, I was a mortgage broker. He probably thought I was practical and grounded,” she laughed. “But this—I’m good at it. I’m better at it than I’ve ever been at anything.”
Having always been enamored by interior design, textiles, and decorating, Lindsay began making high-end pillows.
In 2014, the mom of two little ones took the leap to work from home under the business name “Garland Pillows.” She sold them out of her favorite local boutique in Savannah, Georgia.
“I picked the name Garland because it just sounds like old money, but I also love it because garland is like the top layer of decorating that makes such a huge impact. Like the garland on a Christmas tree, a pillow to a room, or even a clutch to an outfit. Without that garland, it wouldn’t be the same.”
“Oh,” she added, “and it would look pretty written in cursive.” Southern priorities, y’all.
So, how did it go from pillows to purses? Let me explain. When fabric retails for $190 to $600 per yard, people, you don’t just throwaway the scraps. Lindsay had bins upon bins of “gorgeous remnants.”
Enter aforementioned Pinterest project and a woman with mad skills. After seeing that first one actually turn out, with a caliber of fabric that no one had used in this way, she wondered, “Could this really become something?”
Off to Jo-Ann Fabrics she went. She began experimenting with different interfacings and foams to create that perfect clutch. “I knew I wanted the heft of a leather clutch, so I needed to figure out how to make it stiff and hard and stand alone.”
I could tell Lindsay could talk about this all day. She had found her muse.
“When I’m not working on them, I’m thinking about them.” A true artist, Lindsay began cultivating her new obsession.
Courtland and Co., the boutique that sold her pillows, soon began carrying her clutches. And her Insta-following was captivated. These one-of-a-kind handmade bags began selling out in as quickly
as 30 seconds, and often in 24 hours. The demand was obvious, and in 2018, Garland Bags was born.
“The pieces of hardware on the front are the star of the show. Think chunky vintage pieces from the 70s, like a gold-plated tiger that’s sexy and fierce and awesome and almost tacky, but not quite.”
Just when you thought these bags couldn’t get any better, there’s yet another layer of uniqueness—Lindsay gives each bag a name and bio. You will laugh out loud and wonder how a girl this creative ever worked in corporate America.
“I look at the clutch and I conjure up a person who that fabric makes me think of—or the kind of lady who would be wearing it around—and I write funny things about her. I highlight her flaws or the forehead slapping aspects of her personality.”
On her Instagram (@garlandbags), you’ll meet “Griselda,” the third-generation female drug cartel boss, and “Stacey” who is the life of the party but can’t get her crap together (she owes $150 in library fines), and “Amber,” the hot nanny. Then there’s proudly quirky “Montgomery,” who smokes Virginia Slims, eats vegan, and loves Celine Dion.
You won’t be able to stop reading them. You’re welcome.
To keep up with the demand, Lindsay has teamed up with PortCity Sewing Factory in Savannah, where they hand make the bags exactly as she does.
Just like the city where they were born, Garland Bags embody richness. Savannah’s Spanish moss, upscale cocktail culture, and overall charm keep their designer intrigued and inspired.
And if you can click fast enough, these funky, gorgeous clutches will inspire you too.