Handbags that Spark a Conversation

by Kent Stetson • 30 Sep 2019

Our handbags are sure to spark fun conversations.

In 2003, after an exhibition of my computer-generated art failed to result in any sales, I cut the pieces up and sewed them into bags. They sold immediately. Fast forward, we now sell in several hundred boutiques and specialty stores and enjoy a worldwide cult-following of collectors. Each piece is made in our atelier in Rhode Island. I still sew and sign each piece.

I have developed over the past 15 years a signature style; the colorful printed crossbody frequently clutch with 3D details and vibrant contrast piping. This signature has a uniquely-identifiable quality that has offered us a significant brand recognition factor. It is a unique product, but beyond that, there is a story in the DNA of the work that provides additional quality. Since cutting up my paintings to create the original bags, I have gone on to incorporate photographs and various themes. There is a vast range from elegant to playful, but all of our bags have an approachability that frequently makes for a great conversation-starter. Some high-end labels have an intimidating status quality; we like to think that our designs present an opportunity for their users to invite fun conversations and make new friends.

Regarding sustainability, I like to think we represent the "farm to table" version of handbags. We craft each piece in our atelier, and most of our work is made to order. Our signature printed styles are vegan, crafted from coated canvas (we do also make a small number of one of a kind leather day bags, utilizing factory remnant hides). Our linings are made from deadstock fabrics, discontinued prints that have been pulled out of factories and fabric houses. We sell in several hundred stores, but exclusively boutiques and museum stores, opting not to sell through chain stores. We prohibit markdowns, eliminating the devaluing of our designs (if you look at resale sites like Poshmark, you will see that our bags frequently hold their full value).

Art can happen in unexpected places. And a dressy outing accented with one of our pieces can often be an opportunity to make new friends.

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Kent Stetson

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