From expanding into footwear, accessories designer Brandon Blackwood, a 2022 EBONY Power 100 Style Curator, is flexing his creativity, this year, every which way. Recently, he teamed up with Starbucks to create a limited-edition bottle bag to celebrate the mega franchise's Pink Drink—a melange of strawberry and açaí combined with coconut milk and fruit juice—and its Paradise Drink—featuring tropical fruit flavors of pineapple and passionfruit, blended with coconut milk and fruit juice—which are both now available in carry-and-go bottles.  

We spoke with the industry's design darling to get the lowdown on the inspiration behind his sip & sling bags with the coffee and drinks chain.

EBONY: What’s your go-to drink at Starbucks?
Brandon Blackwood: Pink Drink is my favorite Starbucks drink, so when they approached me with this opportunity I was thrilled.

What made you say yes to designing a bag for Starbucks?
Starbucks is a major brand, so I definitely was excited when they reached out. They gave me total creative freedom throughout every step of the process. This was such a unique opportunity and cool experience. I can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve created together.

I have always been a fan of Pink Drink and Paradise Drink; both drinks have become iconic accessories on their own with their bright colors and textures. I’m excited that there’s now a ready-to-drink bottle that all of us who love the beverage can grab for on-the-go or from any grocery store. Both drinks are fan-inspired and were made very popular on social media; very much, in the same way, my brand took off. The alignment just made total sense. 

Brandon Blackwood - Starbucks
Image: courtesy of Brandon Blackwood

Where did you find inspiration to design the bag?
I was inspired by the colors, flavors, and textures of Starbucks' Pink Drink and Paradise Drink. I knew this couldn’t just be your average bag; it had to be just as eye-catching and appealing as the drinks themselves. I wanted the bags to send a strong message about accessibility, boldness and fun, and that’s exactly what Starbucks and I have created together.

The creative process was really centered around the fact that the drinks are for people who want something to grab and go. I chose sling bags because they are minimal, easy to take on the go, and they’re functional. The bag features a holder for RTD Starbucks Pink Drink and Paradise Drink with a window in the front so you can see the drink. It also fits your wallet, keys, phone and cards. You can sling it over your shoulder or wear it crossbody style.