Alternative Apparel + Shopbop Launch The Message Bag

The photo gallery at Olivia Wilde Source has been updated with 23 HQ and MQ images of Olivia Wilde at the launch of The Message Bag by Alternative Apparel + Shopbop that was held last night in New York City.

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Fashionista Interview

Last night Alternative Apparel and Olivia Wilde celebrated the launch of the Message Bag–the result of a collaboration between the two hosts and Wilde’s best friend Barbara ‘Babs’ Burchfield, which will benefit the Academy for Peace and Justice in Haiti.

We happened to arrive at the event just as Wilde and co-designer Burchfield stepped out of their taxi. Despite being ridiculously beautiful (her green eyes are exquisite), Olivia seemed much more like a cool, normal girl hanging with her bestie than the A-list movie star that she is. Perhaps it’s because she takes her role as activist and philanthropist seriously and happens to be just as comfortable toting her messenger bag around Haiti as walking a red carpet. How many actresses who’ve scored the number one spot on Maxim’s Hot 100 can say that?

Naturally, Olivia and Babs were both carrying the limited edition Message Bag, an army green, canvas bag that doubles as a cross body and a backpack. The bag retails for $138 and is sold on and in Alternative Apparel stores. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Academy for Peace and Justice, a secondary school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti funded by Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis’s charity, Artists for Peace and Justice.

The event took place at the James Hotel, where Erica Domesek of P.S. I Made This helped members of the media customize their bag with stencils and studs. Before Olivia headed to the DIY table to stencil O.W. onto hers, we had a quick chat with her and Babs to learn more about what their work in Haiti means to them.

Fashionista: Tell us about your collaboration with Alternative Apparel.
Olivia Wilde: Babs and I have worked with [the Academy for Peace and Justice] since 2008 raising money for their various projects through a local organization on the ground. We started to feel that the traditional means of fundraising was getting tiresome. You know, just asking people for money. We thought about mixing passions of ours: philanthropy and fashion. We were dreaming of having a product that would have a purpose and the proceeds of which would go to this school.

How did you decide on creating a bag?
Barbara Burchfield: A bag is something that we constantly use in Haiti on our trips every other month. Olivia had an old vintage army bag that we used all the time and threw everything in from bug spray to stuff for the kids. A bag also represents kids being in school. Kids fill their school bags with all their personal things and what they need. It kind of represents our low-key style.

What would people be surprised to know about Haiti?
OW: It is known for its artists. There is an incredible artist community. It is also one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is a gem of the western hemisphere. We are always encouraging people to discover that for themselves– to visit and swim in the crystal clear oceans, see the beautiful cliffs and waterfalls and not to write off Haiti as a disaster and depressing place.

Would you ever consider designing more in the future?
OW: Yes! I was a total novice. We came to Alternative with the dream to help us recreate this army bag of mine, and they totally modernized it and made it really cool. I’m a big fan of their clothes. They’re so flattering! So, as far as being a designer, I am a total student but I would absolutely love to do it again. I would also love to encourage people to be conscious about the way they are exploring fashion. People shouldn’t feel guilty about buying clothes but should buy with a conscience and keep in mind where their money is going to go.

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Olivia Wilde On Going Vegan, Alicia Silverstone’s Cooking And DIY-ing

“I have been a vegetarian since I was like… 12,” actress Olivia Wilde said while sitting next to Erica Domesek of P.S. I Made This at the James Hotel on Monday night. “But [being vegan] has been something that, for the past four years, has at times been consistent, other times less so,” she said of her more recent and more challenging dietary decision. “It helps if you have the right support system,” Wilde explained. “The person who really showed me the best way to do it was Alicia Silverstone. We were shooting a movie called ‘Butter’ and we were in Northern Louisiana — where there is no vegetarian food — and she cooked the most incredible recipes from the Kind diet for me everyday. I have never looked or felt better in my life.”

“[Being vegan] is not always easy and accessible,” she continued, “but it’s a way of life and makes me as a person feel really good and physically look better. My skin was better, energy was better.”

This all-around feeling of wellness was present throughout the Shopbop-hosted evening, a celebration of Wilde’s “Message Bag,” which she designed in collaboration with Alternative Apparel and her charity organization Campaign Happiness, which provides aid to schools in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. To make it all a bit more special, Domesek was on-hand to help attendees customize their bags with safety pins, studs and stencils.

“Olivia is getting involved with sharpies and paint pens” the DIY blogger said, pointing to Wilde’s specialized messenger bag which had her initials “OW” on the front. “Like my email!” Wilde explained, “When you get an email from me it just says ‘capital O.W.’ and people always laugh when they get it because they’re like ‘ow!'”

But this bag is no laughing matter. In fact, it is inspired by the vintage army bag Wilde picked up years ago and would bring with her on trips to Haiti with Artists for Peace and Justice every few months. “We went everywhere, and I always brought this bag,” Wilde recalled, “it would be [filled] with everything from bug spray to malaria pills to scarves to lenses. I’d throw it in the back of a pickup truck, throw it in the dirt. It was our go-to, all-purpose bag.”

The original bag, much like the ones she and Domesek were working on, was customized. “My original bag had on it, ‘Finally Stopped Dressing For The Boys.'” Wilde said, “It came with that, which was why I bought it. Someone had typed it on. I thought, ‘that’s so cool, that’s something I am proud to show off.'”

And she can be proud of this one, too.

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“House: The Complete Series” DVD Set Announced

House is one of the most compelling medical dramas that critics proclaimed as “one of the smartest and intellectually bravest shows on television” (Jennifer Arrow, E! Online). Through eight brilliant seasons, two-time Golden Globe® winner Hugh Laurie, as Dr. Gregory House, combats the medical field with unconventional and misanthropic tactics that audiences can’t help but love. Every baffling case, every brilliant diagnosis, and every sardonic insult is all here in House: The Complete Series, arriving on DVD on October 2, 2012 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

House: The Complete Series gives viewers a chance to re-live every captivating moment as House and his team of doctors solve complex medical mysteries, push professional boundaries, and face personal demons. Gripping, witty, and intelligent, House: The Complete Series will satisfy every House fan in this must-own 41-disc collection, featuring all 176 episodes of this Primetime Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning production. The collector’s package includes a fully-colored, 24-page collector’s book with a must-see insider’s look at the show’s origins, favorite House-isms, rare campaign art, and more! Over the years, House has featured outstanding guest stars such as Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, Bourne Legacy), James Earl Jones (Star Wars), Franka Potente (Bourne Identity), Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown), Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), and music star Dave Matthews.

Enjoy all eight seasons of the groundbreaking television phenomenon show in one collectible package, just in time for the holidays!

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“The Words” Featurette

There’s now a featurette online to promote “The Words” being released on September 7th!

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