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Pussy Pouch: The Handbag Line Everyone Is Talking About

 

@andrej_pejic backstage at DKNY. #PussyPouch #PussyPosse #DAMNsel

A photo posted by DAMNsel (@hellodamnsel) on

You want to know the quickest way to combat “manspreading” in 2015? Get a Pussy Pouch. Beyoncé has one. So does Andreja Pejic, Pussy Riot and Elliott Sailors. Intrigued? We caught up with DAMNsel designer Rachel Feinberg to get the lowdown.

theFashionSpot: Backstory, please!

Rachel Feinberg: I grew up in Los Angeles. I went to Parsons for fashion design and also studied at Central Saint Martins. Both my parents are doctors, which definitely influences my work. I’m intrigued by the human body.

tFS: How did you come up with the idea of DAMNsel?

RF: I was sitting on the subway in New York heading to class and I was reading The Politics of Reality by Marilyn Frye. In the book, she wrote about how women occupy less space than men, especially when they’re sitting or walking. When I looked up from the book, everyone around me was exhibiting that behavior. The men were spread out and had their backpacks about one or two feet away from them on the floor. The women, on the other hand, were sitting with their legs very tightly closed and their bags on their laps. It’s not the most comfortable way to sit, but unconsciously we’ve been taught to be small, cover our laps and protect our genitalia. I’m a feminist and I’m proud of my body, but I’ve been doing the same thing so naturally for years. That led me to create DAMNsel.

tFS: One of your bags is called the “Pussy Pouch.” Do people get squeamish around the name?

RF: It definitely catches people off guard, but it’s very important to me that we say Pussy Pouch because I don’t want it to be censored. It’s just part of the human body. Yet I can’t even register the username on Instagram. I’ve tried emailing them and calling. Other people have the word “pussy” in their username, but I can’t seem to pull it off.

tFS: Do you often get stopped in the street when you’re wearing your bags?

RF: Before I made bags, I didn’t really carry purses. Now, I carry them everywhere and people always stop me. I’m sort of your basic description of a cute girl who wears sundresses. So, I think people are surprised when they see me carry the bags. 

 

@beyonce with her #PussyPouch

A photo posted by DAMNsel (@hellodamnsel) on

tFS: In less than one year, you’ve built a pretty impressive roster of celebrity clientele. 

RF: I’ve been very particular about who wears the pussy bags because they’re for someone who is willing to have this discussion. The big name that everyone loves is Beyoncé. She was doing press for her album and it resonated with her.

tFS: Pussy Riot has also worn your designs. How did they get a hold of DAMNsel?

RF: They were speaking at Frieze New York, so I bought a ticket and went with two bags. When they were done speaking, there was a Q&A session. I raised my hand and basically said, “I think what you guys have done is amazing and I want to thank you.” So, I gave them the Pussy Pouches. I think they’re fantastic human beings.

tFS: How do you plan on rolling out new collections?

RF: I want to make things that people keep for the rest of their life — things that are really relevant. So, I don’t plan to follow the traditional fashion calendar.

tFS: Will bags remain your focus or will you be expanding into additional categories in the future?

RF: I love accessories and this has been an amazing journey. My heart lies in ready-to-wear, so I’m working on a clothing line that takes traditional designs and reinterprets it in regards to the human body. It’s just as controversial — without the genitalia. We’re launching it this year.

tFS: Who would be the perfect spokesperson for DAMNsel?

RF: I like to believe that fashion designers are the new spokespeople. 

tFS: What’s your biggest challenge as a startup?

RF: It’s really hard to be a startup. The problems range from production to funding. And since this isn’t a recognized brand yet, celebrity stylists don’t know me. It’s been a huge learning experience, but truly amazing to see my company grow from something that I love. At the end of the day, I just want DAMNsel to make the world a better place.