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A Tote for the Masses with Pine & Plastic

Monday, December 16, 2013 Sophie Magdalena

Living in the greatest city on earth has it's perks.  Aside from the obvious of there never being a shortage of amazing things to do, see and explore; we live in a place that is flooded with creativity.  

This city is expelling creatives left and right, from budding musicians to aspiring artists; and the fashion.... Who doesn't love Chicago fashion?  The talent of upcoming designers in Chicago is unmatched by most other cities around the world and the team at Halfstack Magazine is here to share one exciting new brand..... 

We had the pleasure of connecting with the brains behind Pine & Plastic at the recent Milk Handmade event in Chicago earlier this month.  Designer Andrew Wayne, having recently launched his collection of hand crafted totes, shares his journey..... 

Having graduated from the Illinois Institute of Art with a BFA in Fashion in 2011, Wayne has always had an appreciation for fashion.  But what really drove that love home for him was watching VH-1's, "Fabulous life Of."  It was through this vision that Wayne was able to realize how important fashion and style are, and not just on a celebrity level.  Anyone can attain a fashionable lifestyle and Wayne wanted to create something that everyone could enjoy.

So where did the vision for Pine & Plastic come from? 

Wayne had been feeling extremely uninspired by the fashion and art world after being let go from a great design job.  He felt there was no creativity or motivation left and it was through a dream that Pine & Plastic emerged.... 

"I had a dream just this past summer.  In this dream, I was walking through a thickly lined pine forest.  It was so vivid, I could actually smell the pine in my sleep.  As I walked through the forest, I saw beams of light from the ground go up into the sky.  I walked to the beams of light and in them were plexiglass boxes filled with hand-painted bags, which I realized were tote bags.  When I awoke, I was in hysterics.  I was so inspired and I knew this was the line of fashion work and design I needed to pursue.  That same morning, I started on the patterns and the first five original designs came from that dream.  Since then, I've had a flow of creativity and I haven't been hindered since.  Everyday I wake up with new inspiration for the future and of how I view and see totes.  They're not just an everyday carryall, but a needed staple that can mimic the need while also expressing one's fashion sense and personality.  My totes do just that."  

Pulling inspiration from artists such as Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Patrick Nagel, Wayne doesn't just look to other designers... "Architecture and interiors are a huge inspiring factor.  Music is huge, especially '80's music, which clearly shows through my work." 

Wayne has experienced a flood of emotions since that restful night of sleep from which his ingenuity transpired, but most of all he feels motivated.  Motivated to create and offer the public something both useful and fashion forward.  With Pine & Plastic, there's no need to worry about boring or shabby, because these totes offer a fresh take on an everyday accessory.  Featuring a one-of-a-kind aesthetic, Wayne is prideful in his ability to provide a highly functional accessory without having to compromise personal style.  

"Too often I see people wearing a-m-a-z-i-n-g outfits and then boom! -- a weird tote!  No, let's rock it with something hot like mine!" 

Made from high-grade canvas, jacquard textile paint and other high grade materials locally sourced within some of Chicago's most creative neighborhoods, Pine & Plastic offers a unique product that can be enjoyed by the masses.  Wayne doesn't cater to just one demographic and the reception has proven just that.   "It's for anyone who enjoys art, well-crafted and great design.  We've had men and women of all ages, children and even doctors and professors order my totes.  Every time an order comes through, it's just amazing and fascinating how the design and styles transcend age, sex, and who I thought would go for the bag."  And with every single bag being hand-crafted by Wayne himself, you can be assured that no tote bag style will ever be exactly like any other.  Each of his totes comes tagged with its own distinct style number.  

Designer Andrew Wayne at the Milk Handmade Event in Chicago 

What lies in the future for Pine & Plastic?! 

"I have so much I want to do.  In my next collection, I hope to work with colored canvas.  I've only worked with natural-colored canvas thus far.  It will be more cohesive and different than the original collection.  I'd like to expand to offering different sized totes, maybe even children's totes and expand into other accessories as well.  There's been a huge demand for everything from makeup bags to business card holders.  Of course, I cannot wait to see the people of Chicago wearing my designs and in store windows around town.  Growing a small business is a process.  While I do all the design, my business partner, Brett Marlow and I are in this for the long haul.  There is still so much more to come!" 

So this holiday season if you find yourself out of ideas on buying the perfect gift, remember there is still time to buy Pine & Plastic.  This one accessory will turn heads, will soon be all the rave and is sure to be an immediate favorite among all the men, women and even children in your lives! And don't forget to buy one for yourself at  Be sure to look for Pine & Plastic at DOSE Market in February or March when Wayne plans to launch his next major collection! 

Follow Pine & Plastic on Facebook.

- Sophia Sanchez
Digital Content Director & Editor

*Photos taken by Halfstack Blogger Jerome Thomas

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