Stylemaker: Alice Saunders of Forestbound
I first came across Forestbound some time ago, and I remember instantly coveting a beautiful, upcycled bag. I simultaneously fell in love with Forestbound vintage items – gorgeous pins, clothing, and lots of Americana. At the time, I didn’t realize that Forestbound and its founder, Alice Saunders, are local to New England. We caught up with Alice to learn more about what inspires her and her favorite places to shop vintage.
Natalie Kurtzman: We’d love to hear about the inspiration behind Forestbound. How did you get started? What were you doing before you started this venture?
Alice Saunders: Before Forestbound started I was in college at Northeastern University here in Boston (studying history). During the summers, I was working on an organic farm back home in New Hampshire. After college ended and I started doing farm & garden work full-time I needed something to fill the three month, snowy gap in the winter where you aren’t able to work the land. I had been sewing for many years and would always make little pouches and bags for myself and friends. So, combined with my long time love of both military history and surplus came together one cold February when I was at a flea market, saw a WWII era duffle bag, and the idea just popped into my head. I could take apart this sturdy old canvas duffle bag and use the fabric to make something new. I had always sewn with fabrics that I found at the thrift store or the flea market, and the idea of making something out of recycled materials just seemed natural to me. Not only are you reusing fabrics instead of buying new – but it’s also a guarantee that what you end up making will be unique.
NK: What are your favorite things about New England? We love that your brand and look pays homage to this great part of the country. What is it about New England that resonates with you?
AS: I grew up in New Hampshire and consider myself a New Englander through and through. I love the landscape – shoreline to mountains to rolling fields. I love all the history you can find in the houses and buildings in almost every small town. Also, having to buckle down and go through an intense winter every year really makes you appreciate the spring and summer that much more – us New Englanders really don’t take the warm months for granted! And there’s also a certain work ethic that many associate with New England that I really respect and admire.
NK: We love your style! How would you describe your day-to-day uniform?
AS: Thanks! I like to keep it pretty simple – usually jeans, an old t-shirt, denim jacket, leather boots, and on some days, a hat. The majority of my wardrobe is vintage, but I also love supporting other small companies doing great things like Imogene & Willie out of Nashville – I wear their jeans pretty much exclusively. I also wear a lot of antique Native American silver and turquoise jewelry on a daily basis .. one of my favorite flea market vendors (who has become a good friend) finds the most incredible old pieces and always puts things aside that he thinks I might like, so I have amassed quite the collection.
NK: How do you stay inspired?
AS: A big part of my job is uncovering new fabric and materials to work with and since I’ve been doing this for a number of years now I’m always expecting the canvas sources to dry up, but I just keep on discovering incredible textiles year after year. This is where most of my inspiration comes from – the fabrics that I find and the history that they embody. There is always a new story to discover with each piece and I can’t get enough of that – it’s what Forestbound is all about and I am forever thankful that my job revolves around uncovering these little bits of history and highlighting them in a new way.
NK: Since you exclusively use found and salvaged textiles – in addition to selling select vintage items, we imagine you’re on the hunt quite often. Where are your favorite places to go?
AS: I go to a number of flea markets in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. My all-time favorite being the Davisville Flea Market in New Hampshire because that’s where I grew up going every weekend and it holds a real special place in my heart. I also go to a good amount of estate sales and military shows in the Northeast.
NK: When you’re craving a night out, where do you go?
AS: If I’m wanting a great meal I always default to Myers & Chang in the South End or Sarma in Somerville, but if it’s just drinks with friends I love the Galway House in Jamaica Plain (right down the street from my house – always a plus)!
Thanks for chatting with us, Alice! You can find out more about Alice and Forestbound here.
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