Design Is in the Bag - 405 Magazine

Design Is in the Bag

Examining what stylist and designer Sara Kate Little carries with her to make her craft happen.


Sara Kate Little, designer, stylist and founder of Sara Kate Studios, believes that in addition to the things you carry around with you on a daily basis, the means by which you convey said items is also an important consideration.

“We currently have a prototype for this bag in production,” Little says, “It’s modeled after a vintage tote I’ve had for years; it’s the perfect leather that only gets better with age and has the best lines — so simple and classic!”

The creation of new classics based on timeless pieces is a hallmark of Sara Kate Studios — the company’s offerings in their brick and mortar store are chosen for their “story” and the potential that Sara Kate sees in them — and it’s easy to see when Little’s bag is spilled out where the genesis of that sentiment comes from.

While some tools of her trade are with her out of necessity (like brass screws for last-minute client fixes), and other items are stashed in her tote for practical reasons (sunglasses, eau de toilette spray) some are there for both of those reasons and something else, as well … a touch of story.

Smartphones are a valuable tool in the stylist’s trade, and while Sara Kate affirms that Instagram can be a designer’s best friend, she also carries a vintage twin lens camera that belonged to her grandfather, because, in her words, “Sometimes it’s nice to take snaps with the real thing.”

A driving principle in Sara Kate’s design work is surrounding yourself with the things and people you love, and her bag is full of the evidence that she’s practicing what she preaches.

A. Scout bag Sara Kate Studios

B. Travel Almanac Sara Kate Studios: “One of my favorite publications that is centered around people’s travel experiences. They always interview really interesting people and it’s fascinating to hear how exploring has altered their everyday life and perspective. I’m all for broadening my horizons.”

C. Parisian Chic City Guide Anthropologie: “An incredible guide by Ines de la Fressange has been tagging along with me this summer. I love the fantastic places that she recommends and the photos are such eye candy.”

D. Turkish towel Sara Kate Studios: “I’ve been obsessing over these towels for some time. They are perfect for trying to beat the summer heat after splashing into a pool.”

E. Postcards and stamps “I’m pretty nostalgic at heart and really love snail mail. I’ve tried to start a habit of sending notes weekly to people to acknowledge the small (and big) kindnesses that they’ve sent my way.”

F. Vintage cigarette case for business cards flea market find: “I hate when someone asks me for a card and I don’t have any on me – this has been a fun and unusual item that I definitely want lingering in my purse.”

G. Oyédo Eaux de Toilette Diptyque: “My schedule can be all over the map and can include packing up shipments, running to job sites, putting up paint samples, etc. Sometimes I don’t have time to run home before heading out to dinner and a little spritz of this stuff goes a long way. It’s exactly what I need to feel refreshed and put together.”

H. Vintage tortoise sunglasses flea market find: “These sunglasses have been with me for eons and it’s a miracle that they’ve managed to survive that long. They are such a great shape – who doesn’t love a classic tortoise?”

I. Vintage camera family heirloom: “This is my grandfather’s camera that sometimes travels around with me to document some little moments in the day.”

J. Vintage ribbon from NYC’s Garment District “I love finding unusual trimming and details to use for projects with clients. This vintage ribbon was something I sourced a few months ago and am giddy to see it on some custom shades.”

K. Bon Bon tassel earrings Sara Kate Studios: “I am a sucker for bold and playful earrings – you never know when you need them and it’s nice to have them on hand. These tassel ones are handmade in Turkey for the shop and they’ve been my staple as of late.”

L. Louise Dean fabric Sara Kate Studios: “I always have fabric samples stashed in my tote and these playful prints have been a favorite. Louise has such a great eye for texture and has been a joy to collaborate with over the past year.”

M. Brass screws Home Depot: “Littering my pockets and the bottom of my bag you will always find screws. Lately I have been using these really lovely brass screws, because often times they are visible on hardware we have been using. It’s just a fun little detail that I have taken a lot of delight in.”

N. Rose Quartz crystal Sara Kate Studios: “My grandmother collects crystals and is a firm believer in their healing and metaphysical properties. While I’m not a big collector myself, I find it doesn’t hurt to have all the bases covered. Rose Quartz is said to inspire the love of beauty, in oneself and others, in nature, and especially that which stimulates the imagination – art, music and the written word. I can get on board with that.”