by Kejal Savla and Purvi Valia
Selfconfessed bagaholics Kejal Savla and Purvi Valia were designing handbags even before they formally launched their label, Wink. As students of Applied Art at Rachana Sansad, the two DIY experts would often fashion large bags out of unusual fabrics to accommodate all their art and craft supplies. After graduating in 2010, Savla and Valia simply sat on the sidelines and watched friends interview at advertising agencies. “We didn’t want a office job where we would be told how to put our creativity to use,” said Valia. It was only when their classmates started requesting the duo to make handbags like the ones they carried that they realised that making bags was “our calling”.
Savla and Valia’s parents heaved a sigh of relief as the two began work on their first collection, Up in the Air, for Bandra boho-chic boutique On My Own. The affordable range for college students consisted of small sling bags made from luxe-looking printed fabrics and synthetic suede with great attention to detail. Savla and Valia claim that it has since become the USP of the label to create expensive-looking bags through rigorous cost cutting. “We can’t resist buying just one bag when we visit a store,” said Valia. “What’s the point of spending lots on one neutralcoloured bag when you can have two for the price of one?” With that in mind, they supply different collections to cater to the different target customers of stores like Amara, Mogra, Sobo and OMO.
So while their collection of funky office bags titled “Caught in the Act” can be found at Sobo, Mogra stocks their line of embellished clutches intended to accessorise dressy Indian wear. Their Mad Men-style satchels found in Sobo and OMO combine printed and textured fabrics ranging from “blueberry nights”, a faux tweed in purple, to psychedelic tie-and-dye and batik prints with synthetic leather flaps in black, brown and even fluorescent pink. The easy elegance extends to their range of box clutches, which are made by quilting and pleating brightcoloured original jamewars and raw silk, and highlighted using simple metal and crystal studs or metal brooches. Savla and Valia also specialise in personalised engravings on brass and take orders for everything from custommade diaries, planners and laptop bags for men to theme-based passport covers for couples planning their honeymoon.
To order, call Kejal Savla on +91 98201 79649 or Purvi Valia on +91 98218 88555 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Available at Amara, Magnolia, Mogra, On My Own and Sobo. Slings and satchels from R1,200, clutches R2,200-3,500.
by Ankita Patel
What’s not to love about a label dedicated to producing good design with a touch of geek chic? The brand’s launch at the Sea Princess Beach Fair last May came shortly after best friends Ankita Patel and Hiral Patel graduated with a commercial art degree from Rachana Sansad. A series of short internships at graphic design studios like FoxyMoron and Mindbird made Ankita Patel realise she didn’t like the idea of a 9-to-5 job where she couldn’t design to her own whims and fancies. So she grabbed her pencils and began converting her scribbles into colourful prints for she and Hiral’s first collection. There were old-school vespas, vintage florals, squirrels, butterflies and wide-eyed owls.
The bright designs made their way onto flex sheets, canvas and raw silk which were combined with synthetic suede and leather to create a range of wallets, laptop sleeves, sling bags and totes. Soon after the brand’s launch, Hiral Patel left for post-graduate studies and Ankita Patel went solo. Her latest collection includes casual totes screen-printed with adorable birds and robots and quirky clutches made with mix-andmatch fabrics and with neon-hued brooches shaped like flowers and butterflies. Our favourite piece is also the one that best reflects the design philosophy of the brand: the pixel-heart envelope clutch, made from blackand- white and black checked fabrics and embellished with a single red-hot pixelated heart. Ankita Patel plans to launch new prints every three months but offers a custom-made service for those who can’t wait. She can also put your favourite motifs onto all kinds of handbags including embellished ones.
To order, call Ankita Patel on +91 98202 46599 or email her at info. email@example.com. Available at Bliss. Canvas totes from R500, clutches and sling bags R750-2,000.
by Pragya Gupta and Shivangi Singh
Tech-savvy designers Pragya Gupta and Shivangi Singh consider it a happy coincidence that the Adobe Photoshop file extension “.PSD” they often use includes both their initials. They launched their leather accessories label, dotPSD, which stands for “Pragya, Shivangi Designs”, in January after working with brands like Malini Agarwalla’s Malaga in Mumbai and Hidesign in Pondicherry. While Malaga allowed the young designers – they have degrees in leather design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kolkata – to experiment with styles for a niche market, at Hidesign they learned the challenges of manufacturing and marketing affordable luxury goods.
Last September, they finally decided to take the plunge into starting something of their own by travelling across the country from Ladakh to Chennai in search of quality materials and inspiration. Already, they have four different collections. Their Calvin and Hobbes range was conceived on a local train ride where they spotted a college student reading the comic strip. Made using pure leather and actual comic strips sandwiched between PVC, the collection includes pencil cases, clutches and totes. Equally casual and fun is their denim line with backpacks and totes with nappa leather trims and the Naga collection constructed from vibrant hand-woven textiles sourced from Nagaland. DotPSD also has premium collections including one that features appliqué and beadwork on leather depicting fables and folk tales like the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. They take up custom orders, so you can even convert your favourite fairy-tale fantasy into a handbag.
by Simran Bijlani
While pursuing a diploma in fashion design from Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University, Simran Bijlani would often find herself sketching handbags in various styles even before she could start on the clothes for her assignments. But Bijlani’s real light-bulb moment came when her mother refused to fund her handbag shopping sprees. After a short course in handbag and accessory design from the London College of Fashion, she no longer needed the money. Bijlani was soon making her own handbags, launching her label, Inkberri, in July 2010 with a collection of just 35 bags, mostly small clutches and sling bags that combined synthetic leather in different colours and textures with printed fabrics.
Bijalni’s styles come in a riot of colour with reasonable price tags. Her current collection boasts of slim rectangular slings in dual-tones, foldable clutches made from dyed jute, colour-block shoulder bags in fun combinations like tan and mint green, box clutches with vibrant Indian embroidery techniques like phulkari and bigger bags, suitable for work, in boxy shapes with envelope-shaped front pockets.
Even with a wide range of colour combinations, Bijlani encourages clients to customise according to their preferences. With Inkberri, Bijlani said she would like to cater to all kinds of women, “those who just like to carry their lipsticks and credit cards to those who carry their entire wardrobes”.
To order, call Simran Bijlani on +91 98214 61309, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/inkberri. Available at Bliss, Sobo, Vyoum and White Peacock, online on www.shop.styleme.co.in and www.itshandmade.in. R1,450-2,500.
by Karishma Shahani
“The first thing I notice when I walk into a store are the handbags,” said Karishma Shahani, who graduated with a Master of Science degree in Luxury Goods and Services with a focus on the handbag industry from the International University of Monaco in 2008. When she returned to Mumbai, she wanted to launch her own brand which wasn’t typically Indian but still reflected elements of Indian design. In July 2009, she launched Princesse K, named after Princess Grace Kelly, with a collection titled Indian Monsoon. The range of hobos, totes and clutches combined bright tie-anddye and ikat prints, rich Benarasi brocades and khadi with art leathers. The brand now expertly marries bright Indian handlooms such as leheriya and mashru with contemporary styles.
In 2010, tired of seeing boring black laptop cases everywhere, Shahani launched Lord K for men, a collection of messenger bags, totes and laptop bags with preppy checks and houndstooth patterns with leather. Shahani’s latest collection of pop-coloured sling bags for the summer is inspired by the ones carried by BEST bus conductors.
Princesse K also offers a range of dressy evening clutches in a patent leather finish with metallic embellishments and heavy sequins work. If you still don’t find what you’re looking for, Shahani takes custom orders for all kinds of bags, including her most recent one – a stylish diaper bag.
To order, call Karishma Shahani on +91 98921 35331or email her at email@example.com. Available at Bliss, Loose Ends and Sanctum. R800- 2,500.
by Sudhir Arora
Joystreet bags personify sophisticated summer style with floral prints and embroidery patterns straight out of tulip gardens and dewy meadows on petite sling bags, spacious totes and compact wallets. The inventive use of graphic prints and fresh silhouettes are courtesy designer Sudhir Arora, who launched the label last December. After graduating with a degree in Accessory Design from the National Insititue of Fashion Technology in 2008, Arora created accessories for Weekender and handbags for Anita Dongre’s Global Desi label, where he learned to combine Indian patterns and motifs with contemporary styling. Arora’s debut designs in art leather reveal attention to detail in new shapes and sizes.
There’s plenty to choose from – the Original is a gorgeous olive shoulder bag with two types of digitally printed tulips, the Checkboard tote in off-white and olive is bucket-shaped with a patchwork of leather swatches and the Cosmopolitan is a slim colourblock tote in orange-grey and electric blue-grey combinations. There are bright yellow sling bags with tiny white flowers, colour-block clutches and drum-shaped crossshoulder bags embroidered with tulips. Arora’s design philosophy is to create simple, chic styles using the best quality materials for women of all ages. While the first set of bags in December came in muted, earthy tones, the newest additions come in pop shades, perfect for the summer.
To order, call Sudhir Arora on +91 90040 38563, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/WeLove JoyStreet. Available at Bliss and online on www.3closets.com, www.shopo.in and www.shop.inonit.in. Wallets and bags R1,000- 5,000.
by Tosha Patel
As a student of Fine Arts at the University of Baroda, designer Tosha Patel enjoyed painting with pop colours in the hope that one day she could create wearable art using her own creations. After graduating in 2006, she decided to enlist herself in a short diploma course in luxury leather accessories at the London School of Fashion. Patel soon came to the conclusion that high-end luxury fashion bags are often boring because design houses have to play safe while working with expensive raw materials. “I found my niche then,” said Patel. “I wanted to create fun bags that could be affordable and still very well made.”
Patel launched the label with a collection of solidcoloured, pure leather handbags in 2010 but turned in her Summer 2011 collection to small sling bags in lambskin leather with rich satin prints. The mini-sling has since become the brand’s signature shape and is now available in abstract prints titled Tribal Pop with faux leather in electric shades. Other successful collections include Princess and the Bird, a rich combination of nappa leather and floral prints in velvet as well as last year’s wedding collection which featured an adorable nimbu-mirchi-inspired sling with a dark-green velvet body and a yellow PVC flap.
Current collections also include Ciao Bella, a large tote that comes with a scarf and a special loop for it to be tied at the front, clutches with geometric prints and illustrations inspired by impressionist paintings and fluorescent boxy slings. Patel also has a line of accessories like bag charms, key rings and statement necklaces including Peter Pan collar ones, all of which will be on sale at the Time Out and Black Taxi Fashion & Works Sale this fortnight.
To order, email Tosha Patel at email@example.com or visit www.facebook.com/toshe.in. Available at Sobo, online on www.pret-amoda.com, www.ofindianorigin.co.uk/ shop, www.shopo.in and www.shop.inonit.in. R800-2,050.
by Nidhi Shah and Hiral Bhogi
Each bag by sisters Nidhi Shah and Hiral Bhogi was born out of working weekends over three years, while the two maintained full-time jobs. While Bhogi is a banker turned housewife, Shah, until a few weeks ago, was design head at one of our favourite home accessories stores, Freedom Tree Homestore. Now, they’re finally ready to go fulltime making bags that run wild in a Technicolored palette.
Shah said the idea for Limited Edition came from her own love for “happy and colourful” cloth bags that complement Indian wardrobes with their mix of Indian, Western and fusion outfits. Their latest collection, Global Boho, best represents the brand’s design aesthetic combining bright Indian prints with contemporary shapes and styles (minus the kitsch and bling). There are bohos, totes, potlis and sling bags in a variety of printed fabrics, quilted, pleated and finished with contrasting trims. They’ve also always offered a range of solid-coloured shoulder bags and slings for the less adventurous. The recent ones come in felt, with a skinny belt running across the bag and more sober options like the Puffle style in pastel hues. Other great buys include the patchwork iPad cases, inspired by kites, which convert into a sling and their range of reversible all-cloth bags.
It’s a given that cloth bags have a short shelf life, no longer than eight months, said Shah. On the upside, even the costliest bag is priced at R1,850 and with just 50-60 pieces in each style, they are a smart way to accessorise this summer.
To order, call Hiral Bhogi on +91 99676 87775, email teamlimitededition@ gmail.com or visit www.facebook.com/pages/ Limited-Edition. Bags R950-1,850, laptop and travel bags R2,200-2,500.
Where to buy
Amara Kwality House, First Floor, Kemps Boulevard, next to Crossword Book Store, Kemps Corner (+91 22 2387 9687). Daily 10.30AM-8.30PM. Visit www. amara.co.in for more details.
By Prerna Makhija on April 27 2012 4.30am