This Mother Daughter Duo Put an Ethical, Stylish Spin on Fanny Packs
Rachel Denniston, Co-Founder
Los Angeles, CA
My name is Rachel Denniston and I'm co-founder and daughter half of HFS Collective, a sustainable hands-free bag brand based in Los Angeles. I was born and raised here in L.A. and it's still the place I call home. I find inspiration in nature-- the canyons, mountains and water of the landscape here in California. I studied Art History in college so art has a significant influence on me and my design work as well. I'm also particularly interested in female artists who've fought their way to the top during times when it wasn't as easy for women as it is now (even though sometimes it's not so easy still).
HFS Collective is a hands-free bag brand on a mission to liberate women from their baggage. We started making belt bags (stylish fanny packs) six years ago. They are what we do best and what we love most. Our brand is centered upon the notion of the "joy of less" -- the idea that we really don't need all of the stuff we think we do to go throughout our day and in fact, we are able to have more freedom, joy, and happiness in exchange for less stuff.
HFS Collective was really born out of love for the freedom afforded by the fanny pack. My mom (and co-founder) fell in love with the fanny pack when I was in diapers and it stuck with her all this time. When we started in 2012, nothing quite like what we were doing was out there on the market, as fanny packs were mostly still those dated, nylon banana sacks that we'd prefer to forget ever existed!
Our company is purely a reflection of who we are as people. It's rare these days to have a mother and daughter working and designing together, but it adds to who we are as a company. Having two different generational perspectives on everything is both a blessing and a challenge and makes our perspective pretty unique.
The fact that we focus on sustainability is also a reflection of who we are rather than what is trending. We both care deeply about the planet and all life upon it so we produce everything locally here in L.A. using only highest quality earth friendly materials including Pinatex (made from the waste of the pineapple industry), Eco-suede (made from recycled plastic bottles), and naturally low impact fabrics like hemp, organic cotton, plant-based raffia, and cork. Most people don't know but leather is extremely toxic and it's production is incredibly polluting to our planet. For this reason, we refuse to use it in our line, especially when there are so many other healthier options available.
Thank you for this question! It's exciting that we as a society are beginning to wake up and realize the environmental devastation that fast fashion has inflicted on our planet and are taking a step back to really look at it, this system we built, look at the way and rate at which we consume things, and start asking questions.
Apart from choosing exclusively sustainable and earth friendly materials, we also make our bags in small batches locally just a few miles from our office. For us, it's important that things are made mindfully. We don't want to contribute more waste to an already polluting industry, so small production runs enable us to sell through our inventory, creating less waste and fewer styles that go without homes. We know by name all of the craftsmen and women that make our bags and that they're being paid a fair living wage in safe and pleasant working conditions.
The Half Moon in Poppy is my favorite to look at and certainly brightens up any outfit, the Half Moon in White Sand or Meadow and the Wallet Belt Bag in White Sand are the ones I wear most when I go out on the town. Lastly, the Pocket Bum Bag in Pinatex is the one I wear hiking with my puppy, running errands, working on projects, and getting stuff done. The front slip pocket for your phone makes it super functional and utilitarian.