Jen Mascali Says Reaction To Her Italian Hand-Crafted Tote Has Been MixedBy Tony Aiello

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the 10th anniversary of 9/11, there is a heartfelt tribute from a daughter who lost her dad.

But she knows not everyone will think it’s appropriate, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

“I wanted it to be a symbol of love and awareness,” handbag designer Jen Mascali said.

It hangs on her arm — but it comes from her heart.

“It’s my own little way of remembering my dad,” she said.

Mascali’s father, Joe, was a first responder killed when the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001.

“He did things with honor, and I try to live my life through his example,” Mascali said.

9/11 handbag

The inscription on the leather tag of Jen Mascali's handbag is the only thing about the tote that scream "9/11." (Photo: CBS 2)

So for the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks, Mascali designed the “Remember” bag.

Mascali said the fact that the handbag doesn’t scream ‘9/11’ from a block away is by design. The simple red tote is handmade in Italy. The most striking design element is an embossed leather tag.

“And the quote on there is … ‘each life is a miracle that changes the world and leaves it a better place than it was before,’” Mascali said.

The bag retails for $240 and Mascali said she is donating all the proceeds to a 9/11 charity.

Asked what the reaction has been to the handbags, Mascali said, “We’ve had good and we’ve had some bad and that’s okay.”

She said she understands that some people are deeply uncomfortable with 9/11 commemorative items — and there’s a lot out there, everything from jewelry and figurines to dog collars and even a 9/11 anniversary wine, from Lieb Family Cellars on Long Island.

“You know, once you get into wine and dog collars, I think it gets a little bit trivializing everything,” ground zero visitor Sally Handley told Aiello.

“I think that there’s a fine line between crass commercialism and somebody who’s supporting a good cause,” added Tom Martin.

Mascali said she didn’t create the line for personal gain.

“I can’t expect everyone to understand my reason behind doing it, but for me it comes from a pure place of love,” she said.

She said she’s proud of her tribute — and her dad would be proud, too.

The “Remember” bag is being sold online, and at “Treasure and Bond” on West Broadway in SoHo.

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