The Upcycled Leather Belt Bag Made From Luxury Leftovers [HYER GOODS Review]
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As a ‘90s baby, I’ve been thrilled by the recent reemergence of fanny packs (or belt bags) as a fashion trend. See, I’ve never been one to love carrying a purse—so much digging around, too many random receipts stuffed in tiny pockets—and don’t even get me started on the oversized tote trend. Good riddance, my shoulders say. I’d much rather carry a bag on my hip or, better yet, as TikTok has shown me, across my chest.
Fun fact: The origin of the fanny pack dates back to the 1960s, when an Australian woman named Melba Stone was inspired by kangaroo pouches, though there are even earlier references to fanny packs worn by Europeans—which is to say, the functional bag has been worn and loved for more than a few decades by celebrities, athletes, and the general population alike. And you can add my name to that list.
My first fanny pack as an adult was the ultralight Patagonia hip pack. It’s the perfect companion for hiking and amusement parks, as it’s durable, tiny, and fits the essentials. But I’ve long wanted a more stylish belt bag for everyday errands and to use in place of my purse, ideally something a bit roomier and fashionable enough to dress up or down—the Patagonia pack, while functional, definitely gives off hiker vibes.
“I’ve long wanted a more stylish belt bag for everyday errands and to use in place of my purse, ideally something a bit roomier and fashionable enough to dress up or down.”
Of course, sustainability is key—and longevity. I love that my parents still have their fanny packs from the ‘80s—my mom has this gorgeous tan leather belt bag that I’ve begged to borrow on a few occasions. I too have wanted a bag I can cherish for years and years to come.
HYER GOODS first caught my eye for design and then for sustainability initiatives. Working in the fashion space, you come across brands that make big sustainability claims, and not all of them live up to the marketing. HYER GOODS seemed different, though. The brand is both beautiful and authentic in its sustainability claims—specifically, HYER GOODS crafts all its products using excess materials abandoned by fashion brands.
“I spent over a decade working in corporate fashion. I watched fabrics get ordered and never be used and garments pile up on sale racks,” writes Dana Cohen, HYER GOODS Founder on the brand’s website.
By upcycling what the industry deems “trash,” the Brooklyn-based accessory line keeps materials out of the landfill. Upcycling deadstock fabrics also eliminates the energy footprint that would otherwise be needed to cultivate land, livestock, crops and fertilizers. “Less energy and less pollution mean fewer greenhouse gases,” Cohen explains.
“By upcycling what the industry deems “trash,” the Brooklyn-based accessory line keeps materials out of the landfill.”
The HYER GOOD line ranges from bucket bags and crossbody purses to wallets and phone swings. “Currently our priority is working with luxury leftovers abandoned by brands at our factory in China,” says Cohen, noting that it’s here where they find “fancy skins leftover from fancy brands,” including Italian crocs and patent leather.
But it’s the bestselling upcycled leather fanny pack ($185) for which the brand is most recognized. In addition to being entirely sustainable and made from deadstock leather, the belt bag is large enough to hold a wallet, phone, keys, and a few smaller necessities. It also has an adjustable and expandable strap for ultimate versatility and wear options.
My HYER GOODS bag arrived in low-waste shipping materials without any plastic and stored in a dust bag, which the brand recommends using to care for your bag when it’s not in use. Inside, the fanny pack was stuffed with paper to keep the form. I put the bag on immediately—my first impression was it’s gorgeous—and I wanted to wear it out as soon as it arrived.
“Our fanny packs are made in India, where the specialty is these softer skins,” says Cohen. “We work with a manufacturer who crafts buttery leather jackets to repurpose leftover bundles of their most popular skins. Sometimes these are leftover because the imperfections were too difficult or costly to cut around…or sometimes they’re leftover due to overproduction.”
One of the best aspects of this fanny pack is that each one varies slightly since they are created from different lots of fabric—which means a truly unique bag with even different shades of black (the color I chose, though it also comes in black croc and smoky navy).
Another unique aspect of the HYER GOODS fanny pack is the thick strap, which makes it possible to wear the bag on your waist, shoulder, or as a crossbody (my preference). There is even a strap extender if you want to make it longer, and I never feel like the bag is cutting in or sliding off because of the thickness. Plus, the clip makes it easy to snap off when in a rush.
“Another unique aspect of the HYER GOODS fanny pack is the thick strap, which makes it possible to wear the bag on your waist, shoulder, or as a crossbody (my preference).”
As for space, I can comfortably carry my daily essentials plus a few extra items, like a hairbrush or a carry-on size of sunscreen, though if you need even more room, HYER GOODS makes a Big Upcycled Leather Fanny Pack that can fit a max of 13 clementines! Both sizes have a zip closure for security, an interior slip pocket for your ID or credit card, plus a small zip pocket on the backside, which I find most useful for cards or cash I need quick access to.
If it’s not obvious, I’m in love with this belt bag. I’ll forever be using it rather than carrying a purse around again. Who knows, maybe my own kids will be begging me to borrow it 20 years from now.
Looking for something “extra trashy”? HYER GOODS makes its wallets and watch bands from the waste of their bags! How’s that for truly zero waste? Follow the brand on Instagram for upcoming product drops, including a laptop tote bag and airpod pro keychain this fall.
- HYER GOODS is a Brooklyn-based brand creating bags, purses, and accessories from deadstock luxury leather and fabrics.
- The upcycled fanny pack is the brand’s bestseller and comes with an adjustable, expandable strap for versatility and multiple wearing options.
- The brand aims to be as zero waste as possible, shipping bags in fabric dusters and using scraps from bag productions to create wallets and accessories.
- Every HYER GOODS bag is truly unique and one of a kind—because these bags are made from luxury leftover fabric, no two bags are alike!
Kayti Christian is the Managing Editor at The Good Trade. She has a Master’s in Nonfiction Writing from the University of London and is the creator of Feelings Not Aside, a newsletter for sensitive people.