Once upon a time, people carried bags because they couldn't effectively hold everything they needed to transport in their hands. Bags allowed them to carry lotsa things at once. Sometimes, bags were made of plastic. Other times, bags were made of paper or cloth. Sometimes, bags could be gotten for free. Other times, bags were a few cents or a few dollars. For centuries, people carried lotsa stuff in inexpensive bags and they thought, "wow, bags are cheap and good."
Then one day, someone noticed that people were stupid (and inclined to promote their status via material goods). A few days after that sad revelation, certain bags cost $400, then $500. The bags now had logos on them and traded their utilitarian appeal for questionable "coolness." They were popular. People saved up to buy them. Soon, people carried bags that were worth more than the things they needed to carry. People had $600 bags to hold nothing more than a $50 cell phone and $1 chap-stick. The world rapidly spiraled out of control and the insane "expensive bag trend" augured an arrival of madder, more threatening fads (ie mass masochism and an associated welcoming of cannibalism.) At that point one bright, nice couple went on a honeymoon in Bali and things started to take a turn for the better.
The result of their trip is fiveaccessories.com, a site founded by a pair who viewed first-hand the creativity (and poverty) of Bali artisans. Shortly after their visit, they began selling reasonable priced handmade Bali handbags online and donating $5 from each purchase to the villages were the goods are made. Recently, they expanded the site to include bags, accessories and jewelry from Honduras and Guatemala. They expanded the charity to included funds from 15% of other purchases.
The bag designs are largely organic, featuring wood, reeds and straw-like compositions. One line from Honduras, pictured above, is made from recycled potato chip bags. (It doesn't cost $400.) Another line is made of cubes of coconut bark. (It doesn't cost $500.) Most of the bags range from $15 to $40 (of which a healthy portion goes to support people who need $5 far more than we need $500 handbags).
Life for the merchants, the manufacturers and the masses improves as, slowly but surely, benevolence and realism re-entered domestic consumerism. Expensive bags were banned. Cannibalism was avoided. Functional bags prevailed. And everyone lived happily ever after.