Bags Bags Bags, who don’t like to have a beautiful unique bag in the closet? I do!, and for a couple of weeks I was looking for some inspiration in instagram, till I found a cool Handmade bags account, after seeing the whole feed, I knew I have to write then and showcase the beautiful bags the do, but more than just to showcase this Australian brand, I wanted to know more about the process and how they started.
For those who don’t know you, talk about your background.
Together with my sister & mother, we created The Silk Merchant in 2013.
The Silk Merchant really has been a labour of love, as designing is world’s away from my life as a corporate lawyer. My sister is close to completing her double degree in Psychology & Asian Studies and my mother was for many years a High School Mathematics teacher.
When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
We have always had a love of fashion, but upon leaving school, we all followed the University road to mainline degrees. It is now that we are fulfilling our “inner design alter ego”.
Through my family’s humanitarian work in Asia, we grew up involved with projects that always required us to raise funds and this brought us into contact with artisans overseas, that we would trade with. We developed a love for the raw materials that we started using and an immense appreciation for the organic products that we were able to source. Our design intuitions that were initially built on our love of symmetry and simplicity, have now evolved into a style based on the inspirations that we see in nature, culture and historical architectural design.
Over time we refined our knowledge of and skills in this area and we just couldn’t resist pursuing a business in fashion.
What’s it like being in the Fashion industry?
As I have noted, this is a new world for us and yet it is what we have been surrounded by for many years. The art of fashion is exciting and challenging. We are constantly challenged by new ideas. How can we blend new designs with traditional craftsmanship? How can our bags be beautiful and yet functional? How can we design a silk to match cultural and traditional patterns with contemporary colours that make a statement???
So as you can see, The Fashion Industry challenges us to evolve, change, adapt and continue to look at the world around us!
To which woman your designs are for?
We would love to think that our designs appeal to all demographics. We try to include designs and colours that will appeal to all ages and to women from all walks of life.
What do you like about your work?
We truly love the amazing silks that we design and work with. We are so proud of the quality of the silks that we are involved in creating. From the designs of the silk themselves, the dying of the silk, through to the handmade creation of each handbag. We feel that with each of our creations we are creating a personal work of art. Even the “flaws” that each bag contains, is a testament to the personalisation of each creation. All of our fashion pieces are handmade with raw organic silk (from our very own silkworms) and all created on a wooden weaving loom. Being a part of this industry is giving us the opportunity to support skills and processes within the worldwide fashion community that is fast being replaced by factories and urbanisation. We are able to be a part of keeping ancient skills that date back over 3000 years, alive and booming.
So we see our role as not just designers, but as creators and supporters of the sustainability of ancient crafts.
We also love the amazing people that we meet along the way and love being involved in their lives. We not only support their communities through employment, but we have developed our own “Giving Back” initiatives so that we are formally involved with the communities that we work within and also support others that are involved in similar initiatives.
What inspires you at the moment you create a bag?
Our handbag designs are a culmination of the colours, the architecture and the patterns that we experience in our travels. The colour of sacks of spices in a market or the collection and contrasting of colours on a sari; patterns on an ancient building or cultural monument; the shapes on a work cart or farming instrument; the personalities that we meet: the sunsets we experience…All of these combine to inspire!!! All of this is beauty, design and style.
Which technique do you use to produce a bag?
All of our handbags and scarves are 100% organic and pure silk, produced from our silkworms. These silks include raw, smooth and organza silk of the purest quality.
All of our silks are hand woven on wooden looms. We design the formulas of the silks to determine its thickness and colour combinations. We also determine the patterns of our silks.
Our designs are also hand dyed (using Italian dyes only) within the village setting. All handbags are handmade.
How long does it take to produces these handmade bags?
From design to completion a handbag can take 4 months. So we are always ahead with our silk production, so that we are in surplus whenever possible, to reduce time of supply from immediate to 3 weeks.
To know more about this brand please visit: The silk Merchant