Collins of Texas, one of only two luxury brand handbags produced in the United States is making a comeback as whimsical fashion accessories for collectors and others interested in unique creations.
The life of company founder and designer Enid Collins life is documented in the newly published book, “Enid”, written by her son George Phillip (Jeep) Collins of Fredericksburg.
Using personal papers and letters, Collins has documented his parents’ lives creating and manufacturing the iconic jeweled handbags in Medina and Fredericksburg.
The book details not only family history but the history of Medina during the 50s and 60s. Collins’ handbags were once carried across the United States at high end stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks though nowadays collectors of the vintage bag dominate the market.
Early on, the Collins family moved to Medina, Texas as erstwhile ranchers.
Dedicated equestrians, the first Collins handbags were leather with design touches inspired by riding tack. Later designs included more natural elements inspired by nature often created in jewels and fancy trim.
The best way to identify an original Collins handbag is to look for unique design elements such as clasps and handles that are identifiable to the brand. Knowledgeable collectors can even identify a Collins bag through its stitching.
Many of the designs incorporate humorous elements as a classic theme as well as various iterations of common design elements like flowers, insects, birds and coins.
Current owner of the Collins brand, Goli Parstabar, emphasizes that while the 766 designs created by Enid Collins will never be modernized, the look of the brands’ bags have been updated to reflect modern tastes.
Parstabar is adamant that the quality and design of the present bags reflect the original products manufactured with care in Medina.
At the Leather Bank store on Main Street in Bandera, new versions of old Collins classics are available for purchase. Vintage versions of the Collins bags are on display for the interested. Some of the rare Collins bags that used paper maché as decoration are on display.
Quality leather, classic designs and unique elements are all hallmarks of the Collins brand.
New handbags in these classic designs are still created in Medina with period embellishments that are only available through the factory.
The Collins brand has expanded to include leather luggage and executive accessories which are also available at the Leather Bank. While the store is devoted to Collins handbags, other high end leather products like boots and soft furnishings are also available.
Copies of the book, Enid, by Jeep Collins will be on sale at both Leather Bank stores in Bandera and Fredericksburg.