For me the beginning was all about exploration of techniques and mediums. For this set I was getting more familiar working with leather, though would continue to sew on my little home machine for another year. All the bags here were made of repurposed clothing I had found at thrift stores. At the time I was considering basing my business model on using only repurposed materials, as environmental impact and waste were hugely important to me. In the end however, as I wanted to grow it proved too limiting for what I wanted the business to ultimately be. Now, even though I purchase all new hides for my bags, almost every single square inch is used for products, we actually throw very little away (aka – very small amount of waste).
I was still very into dyeing and bleaching fabrics here. Bleaching creates super cool effects, but it is a two step process – you have to ‘dye’ with bleach (bleach removes the dye from fabrics), then you need to treat the fabric with ‘bleach stop’, which stops the bleach from working. Otherwise the bleach would eat through the fabric forever and create holes. Machine washing after bleaching does not stop the bleach from working – bleach stop must be used. (In case you have dreams of bleaching anytime in your future). All the splatter effect were done with bleach.
Another bleaching technique is to mix the bleach with a special thickening agent to create a sort of paint. This can then be used for painting specific designs, or screen printing. Regular bleach is obviously thin and watery and bleeds if you try to put it in specific spots on the fabric. The star print scarf seen below was done with this technique. The solution to make the bleach thicker smells absolutely disgusting by the way. Anyway, I found this incredibly soft, lightweight cotton fabric to make the scarfs. I didn’t have a lot of room in my apartment on so I would lay the fabric down on top of a ton of paper bags so the bleach wouldn’t go through to the floor, (I designed and burned the star print screen ahead of time) and would print different parts of it to make an all over print. I actually really loved the result, and I still have one that I kept. I didn’t make that many though, because it was incredibly time consuming. And there were still so many techniques and designs I still wanted to try!
The 2- faced leather pouch ended up being very popular, I ended up selling them all pretty quickly. Again, all made with repurposed leather clothing. Now looking back, I don’t necessarily agree with the color combo choices I made, or the construction quality (haha) but you have to start somewhere, and they looked good to me at the time because I had only just started making bags. Being able to make something I could actually use was so new and exciting!
Photography: Alex Bukhman
Model: Annie Bukhman
Styling: Annie Bukhman