The only time that interior designer and Greenville native Rebecca Ellen Clay ever bought herself a D-cup bra, she’ll tell you, laughing, is when she started making pocketbooks out of them.
The elegant Clay, a breast cancer survivor, was inspired by a bra that had been made into a purse at a Susan G. Komen for the Cure auction. It was adorable, she says, but just too small (B-cup) to be a functional handbag. But Clay ran with the idea, adding to the bras decorative trim like beads, tassels, pompoms, and feathers, that she had left over from twenty-five years of interior designing, and created her first Bra-cketbook last October. She hasn’t stopped since. “They’ve been recession-proof,” Clay says, and eco-friendly too: “People love knowing their bras are getting recycled,” she notes of the many bras that have been donated to the Bra-cketbook cause.
The bags, which are more like portable art, sell for $140 to $280, and the profits go to breast cancer research through the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Duke Integrative Medicine. And, as befits these unmentionables—which, it should be mentioned, make up the inside of the bags—each style of Bra-cketbook has its own name: Island Girl (grass-skirt-inspired), Lipstick (red and black), Debutante (pink and black), Have a Pheasant Day (feathers), and there’s even one named for her late mother (Addie Ellen), with sixty limited-edition styles in all.
Style and support all in one? It’s in the bag.