These Are Dallas Shaw’s Handbag Must-Haves

By Frances Nguyen

For this Wilmington-based illustrator, author and creative director who is constantly on the go, a handbag is her lifeline.

Even during the pandemic, Dallas Shaw, a Wilmington-based illustrator, author and creative director, hasn’t slowed down. She often works evenings and weekends, getting several brick-and-mortar concepts ready to debut on 9th Street in Downtown Wilmington.

Deadlines are moving targets these days, but adjusting to new workflows isn’t uncharted territory for Shaw.

After launching her career in Disney animation, Shaw made an early and unexpected pivot into the fashion industry, where she sharpened her skills on projects for fashion giants like Chanel, Dior, Ralph Lauren and Christian Louboutin in New York and Los Angeles. She’s also done work for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, so she’s well acquainted with keeping creative against a deadline. Shaw parlayed that passion into beauty, travel and home before planting roots—and growing more projects—in Wilmington over the last year.


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Shifting her visual concepts into physical spaces, Shaw has five storefronts in the queue. In the current climate, however, there are no guarantees. “We don’t know when these concepts will be able to receive business,” she says. “We can’t plan, so we pivot.”

But Shaw’s happy to take advantage of this time, further rooting herself into the downtown community and leaving her imprint on the scene there.  “I love contributing to the thriving creative community here that has welcomed me with open arms,” she says.


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Shaw starts each day with coffee and combing through Pinterest for new designers, collections and Etsy shops. Her line of work demands staying on trend, and this ritual helps Shaw visualize what’s possible within any given space. No idea is ever wasted, she says. “I just backlog them for when the right opportunity comes along.”

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When she’s not working virtually, this gal is on the go about town. “For the most part, my life is in my handbag,” Shaw says.

We peeked inside for the must-haves she can’t leave the house without.

Small bag: hobo

“I’m in love with their soft leather—my favorites are the Sheila tote and Cinder bag.”

1. Moleskin notebooks: She knows a lot of people save notes in their phone, but she’s a “jot-downer kind of person.” She carries multiple. The comfort of them being there, readily accessible, is her “thing.”

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2. Urban Decay lip gloss: Shaw isn’t caught without it. Like a ritual adornment, it’s her signature look.

3. Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Mist: Shaw takes this spritz with her wherever she goes “just for a little refresh,” especially when traveling.

4. Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge: Between meetings, she relies on this cream color compact for lips and cheeks to freshen up and look—and feel—composed and confident.

5. Apple AirPods: On the street, you’ll usually bump into her with these in. She’s “fueled by music, so that’s really important.”

Work bag: ZARA

“I want something versatile that I can switch up trend-wise.”

6. Face mask: She’s been supporting local artists (and some on Etsy) where a portion of the proceeds are donated to Black Lives Matter or various charities.

7. Cuyana clutch: This organizes everything—her passport, checkbook and different credit cards for every concept she’s designing at any given time.

8. Blackwing pencils: Constantly committing her vision to the page, Shaw needs the right swords to express herself. “I love aesthetics, and they’re so beautiful,” she says.

9. Rulers: She keeps these silver and rose-gold rulers on hand for markup—until she designs her own collection of artist tools that are “both beautiful and functional.”

To learn more about Dallas Shaw’s work, visit or follow her on Instagram at @dallasshaw.

Published as “In My (Work) Bag” in the November 2020 issue of Delaware Today.

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