The actress opened up to PEOPLE about why partnering with Vera Bradley to announce the brand's recycled cotton collection (available now) is so significant to her

By Hanna Flanagan
May 10, 2021 12:51 PM
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Vera Bradley Partners With Lana Condor to Introduce New Recycled Cotton Collection
Credit: Courtesy Vera Bradley

When Lana Condor was approached by Vera Bradley to help launch its new recycled cotton collection (available online now), the actress was flooded with special memories of her mom and other women in her family toting around the brand's iconic printed bags throughout her childhood.

"I come from a very big Vera Bradley fan family," Condor, 23, tells PEOPLE exclusively. "All the women in my family always had their beautiful brightly colored bags. As a kid, it was kind of like a rite of passage to get my first one."

The To All the Boys I've Loved Before star received her first as a tween. "My mom gave me a Vera Bradley bag to to use as my ballet bag to hold my pointe shoes and everything like that," she said. "Ever since, I've loved the brand because it reminds me of my family and my childhood and feeling really loved by my family members ... I felt like this collaboration would honor my mom."

Vera Bradley Partners With Lana Condor to Introduce New Recycled Cotton Collection
Credit: Courtesy Vera Bradley

Each bag in the new collection was crafted from 50% recycled and 50% conventional cotton, with sustainability in mind.

"Vera Bradley is a very accessible brand that many households have used and loved," Condor says. "[These bags are] made out of recycled material but still has the same function, feel and practically, which shows people that sustainability is possible at a very commercial level, without sacrificing quality."

Vera Bradley Partners With Lana Condor to Introduce New Recycled Cotton Collection
Credit: Courtesy Vera Bradley

In addition to the signature prints Vera Bradley is known for, the recycled cotton line also features solids, including turquoise, bright yellow and navy, for the the first time ever: "Something for everyone!" Condor says.

As part of the collaboration, the actress designed the limited-edition, black and pink-trimmed Lana Utility Backpack, which comes complete with plenty of pockets, clips and adjustable side straps.

"I'm obsessed. I can't wait for people to wear it," she shares, joking that it's been hard to keep the collaboration a secret leading up to launch day. "I've been wanting to wear it out and about, and I always gravitate towards it in my wardrobe when I'm getting ready in the morning. I have to have self-control!"

Vera Bradley Partners With Lana Condor to Introduce New Recycled Cotton Collection
Credit: Courtesy Vera Bradley

Condor says she's a "big backpack girl" because she needs to something stylish, yet big enough to hold her iPad, her scripts, at least one thriller novel to help her destress on set, wet wipes and sanitizer, sheet masks, chargers, lipstick and an eyebrow pencil.

"This one holds it all," the actress, who's set to star in HBO Max's upcoming sci-fi rom-com Moonshot later this year, says.

Vera Bradley Partners With Lana Condor to Introduce New Recycled Cotton Collection
Credit: Courtesy Vera Bradley

Aside from her utility backpack, Condor says she's looking forward to wearing one controversial trend that reflects the post-COVID demand for comfort this summer: those cushy foam slides that Yeezy and Crocs are known for.

"I kind of love it," she says with a laugh. "I think comfort is everything."

That "comfort first" meant it definitely took a little mental preparation to get back into red carpet mode for her To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You promo tour and to host the Costume Designers Guild Awards, she says: "It was a little jarring to go from sweatpants to, you know, a stunning [designer gown]. It was a little bit of a whiplash but it's exciting."