Could Be Something is the Sydney-based label making one-of-a-kind bags out of discarded fabrics


“When we were experimenting with a new technique or design, we would always say that it ‘could be something’. It started as a bit of a joke, but the name stuck.”

As we’ve seen time and time again over the last few years, lockdowns (as challenging as they were) also proved to be a fruitful time for creatives. This was the case for the Sydney-based accessories label Could Be Something.

Founded by fashion designers Meredith and Natalie, it was only while living through lockdown in Brooklyn, New York, that they finally had the time to launch a project of their own. And after lots of Facetiming and experimentation, their passion project began to turn into something more.

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Their distinctive bags are made out of repurposed leftover fabrics, including vintage tablecloths, and feature distorted plaid and warped florals. The duo injects new life into these discarded materials by employing techniques like marbling and embroidery, resulting in a collection of one-of-a-kind bags.

Made in limited runs, Could Be Something is now stocked at Melbourne fashion destination, Sucker, and takes custom requests through its Instagram. Below, we speak to the pair about launching a brand during an overseas lockdown, the label’s ethos and the collaborations they have in the works.

Tell us about you. What’s your fashion background?

Meredith and Natalie: We are Meredith and Natalie, the founders/designers behind Could Be Something. We both studied fashion at UTS in Sydney, and then went on to complete a Masters’s in Fashion Design at Parsons in NYC. Now we are based in Sydney, and we design and hand-make each Could Be Something bag.

How did the label get started? Talk us through the process and the challenges

N: Could Be Something was born during lockdown in Brooklyn. We had the idea to make bags using the leftover materials we had accumulated during our Master’s and lockdown gave us the time to do it. We lived in different boroughs in NYC so it was a lot of Facetime calls and experimentation!

We both moved back to Australia at the end of 2020 and focused on developing our two signature shapes, the Lid Bag and the Barrel Bag. Our bags are made using a vinyl coating and crushing technique we developed as a way to give the bags structure and dimension.

As Could Be Something started to grow we began designing our distorted plaid and warped floral prints, The biggest challenge in the beginning was how to get our bags out there. We were lucky to be stocked early at a few pop-ups in Sydney and our following has grown from there. 

What were you trying to achieve from the project at the time? How has this evolved and what are you trying to communicate through the brand now?

M: Could Be Something has grown so much since we first started in Brooklyn. In the beginning, it was very much a passion project and a way to repurpose leftover fabrics. We’re both so proud of what the brand has become and the focus we still have on sustainability.

We design our distorted plaid and warped florals in small digital print runs, and we are constantly experimenting with new textile techniques. Nat inherited an amazing collection of vintage tablecloths that we give new life to through marbling and embroidery. 

Each of our bags comes with a dust bag and a pillow made from recycled materials. We also expanded our collection to include a small Fold Wallet. We release these every few months as they are made entirely from our print off-cuts. As the brand continues to grow we are developing some new styles and we have some exciting collaborations coming soon. 

How would you describe Could Be Something to someone who’s never seen it before?

N and M: Could Be Something is a Sydney-based brand that makes handmade, one-of-a-kind vinyl-coated bags from bright prints and upcycled fabrics. 

Where did the name come from?

N and M: During our time studying fashion, when we were experimenting with a new technique or design, we would always say that it “could be something”. It started as a bit of a joke, but the name stuck. Now, we love it and think it reflects our approach to using what we have, to create something new!

What are you most proud of in your work on your label?

M: Creating a brand that people connect with. Knowing that Nat and I started this ourselves and have been learning and growing alongside the brand is something I’ll always be proud of. 

N: The most exciting part has been seeing people wearing our designs! We love it when customers post photos of themselves with our bags or we see them on the street. It’s a special feeling seeing something you’ve made out in the world! 

What do you wish you knew when you started?

N and M: The power of reaching out! We have made so many connections and had some amazing opportunities just by sending a message on Instagram. Everyone is so supportive and eager to work together. We reached out to @airtomyearth as we were huge fans of her styling and now Jamie-Maree and Drippy, her dog, have matching Could Be Something bags.

Who do you think is most exciting in Australian fashion right now?

M: We’d have to say platforms supporting young creatives. From Blonde Concept to Sucker, anyone who is willing to support and encourage a small brand in those early days will always be exciting to us! 

What about the Australian fashion industry needs to change?

N and M: The speed of consumption. We’re all about slowing down consumption and production as each of our bags is handmade and a one-off. This can sometimes hurt sales as once we run out of a particular fabric or print it can take time to find something similar or do another print run, but for us, it’s about creating value through this and offering customers a unique item that hopefully, they’ll treasure. 

Dream Australian collaborators?

N: We have been lucky enough to collaborate with some amazing Australian creatives like Mannequin Hands and Corepret, and we are currently working on something exciting with Art Garments! 

M: We’d love to collab with Melbourne artist @grim_mim_. We love how she uses airbrushing and would love to incorporate this technique into some of our bags. 

Who is in your wardrobe right now?

N: We both love to wear Australian designers like Sister Studios, Suku Home and Emma Mulholland on Holiday. Along with my vintage pieces I’ve picked up travelling! 

M: I love Prawn Cocktail’s tees! Simon Miller rib pieces are so comfy to work in. And Miista shoes!!

How can we buy one of your pieces?

N and M: Currently we are stocked in-store and online at Sucker in Melbourne. We also sell through our Instagram (@couldbesomething). We post new bags as we make them or DM us for a custom order!

Anything else to add?

N and M: A huge thank you!!! From our friends/fam who were our first customers, to everyone else that’s bought a piece from us. It means so much to be able to create and make pieces people love.

You can explore more of Could be Something’s range here.

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