Fashion is a way of life for Africans and many people around the world. Everything, from the hairstyle we make to the shoes we wear, is a part of our fashion style. Behind all of these fashion pieces we don are creative minds that bring them to reality.
Previously, we interviewed Modupe Aina on the creative process behind her classy white leather sandals. This week, we spoke with Oyindamola David on the creative process behind her Lila Aso-Oke and jeans handbag.
Oyindamola David is the Creative Director of Jedi’s Bags. Jedi’s Bags is a handbag brand that seeks to challenge the norm by celebrating the individual strengths of women in different career and life paths. It’s why all their customers are called Superwomen.
A graduate of anatomy from Osun State University, she first became curious about bags when she was a child. Her curiosity about handbags drove her to binge-watch fashion shows to see what new fashion accessories were in vogue and lose a few of her mum’s bags. One who knew she didn’t want a regular 9-5 job after graduation, she got the inspiration to start Jedi’s Bags after she prayed and had a vision about sticking to bag making.
What was the Process of Making the Pink Lila Handbag with a Blue Jeans Scrunchie Handle like?
The Lila handbag was inspired by the Holy Spirit. The idea for the handbag came to me one day when I was on my bed. I just saw the idea of Lila, down to the scrunched handles, and I immediately drew it in my notepad.
The colour of the Aso-oke and jeans I used for this Lila handbag was inspired by my love for vibrance and what I felt would work. I wanted a bag that would appeal to colour lovers but still have that cool calming effect with the blue jeans. I achieved that.
The first thing I did was determine the look I wanted the bag to have. I had to decide on things like her size, colour, and the types of accessories that would work for her.
Next, I created a pattern with the size dimensions I wanted. Using a bag stiffener as the base, I cut the pink Aso-oke fabric to suit the measured size. Then, I joined all the pieces together with my sewing machine.
Then, I installed bag seats on the base of the Lila bag to make sure it can stand. Next, I sewed the cover of Lila to the main body I glued, and sewed the two D-rings holding the scrunched handle into place.
Afterwards, I measured and installed the part of the lock containing the turn lock in front of the main part of the Lila Bag. Then, I glued the lining to the main body and sewed around the top part to ensure it stays in place. The next thing I did was glue on the sides of Lila which had already been wrapped with the pink Asooke fabric to the front and velvet lining at the back to the main body.
I then sewed the main body and side with a cylinder bed machine. Next was to sew the handle of Lila, which is reinforced with a stiffener, and then cover it up with blue jean. Then I cut a separate material to make the scrunched part of the handle.
I then placed the handle first into the D-rings and then I wore the scrunched part onto the handle and sewed them together. Finally, the turn lock was measured and installed on the cover of Lila.
Voila! Our beautiful Lila bag in pink Asooke and scrunched blue jean handle is ready for her new owner.
What Inspires the Designs for Each of Your Handbag Pieces?
The inspiration for my handbags generally are gotten from the Holy Spirit. He inspires a major part of every design I make.
I also get designs from checking out other bag designs I like. I look out for what’s trending and decide what to do differently, or how I would design what they made differently. Then, I decide on the type of handles that would work, and I just test these ideas out by first making a sketch and then implementing it.
What Factors do You Consider when Making Handbag?
The important factors I consider are;
Quality is a non-negotiable factor at Jedi’s Bag because we believe in giving the best and delivering full value for money paid. All the materials, lining, accessories, threads, glue, stiffener, and so on that we use are all checked for quality.
2. Type of Fabric to go with Each Design:
The type of fabric to use with each design is also an important factor to consider. If it’s a party bag, bright colours and embellishments would work. If it’s for work, we choose the types of colours on each fabric of choice that would work.
3. My Target Audience:
I like to conduct market research before making any bags, so I ask questions. Based on the results I get from my research, I design new bags.
4. Life Span of Each Bag:
This is an important factor that guides the type of material I use for each bag. It all boils down to the quality of the bag earlier in deeper details. I would rather use expensive materials, in terms of Vegan leather, Aso-oke, Ankara and lining, and sell at a price that’s affordable than use cheap materials which will not stand the test of time because I want to make huge profits.
What Factors do You Consider in Combining Fabrics and Choosing Accessories?
In combining fabrics, the important question is what works. That is, what matches what? What would be more sturdy for what type of bag?
Also, the type of product the client orders too is very important.
For accessories, quality is very important. We don’t buy cheap accessories that would fade in less than 3 months because we want to make sales. Here, we go all out to ensure quality for money is utmost.
In picking accessories, we ask questions like what type of lock would work for the size of each bag? We like to determine if the lock we use will cause the customer to be frustrated or not. When a customer has to do too many things to go in or out of their handbag, it poses a challenge.
What are the Major Challenges You Face as a Handbag Designer in Nigeria
1. Nigerians’ Bias Towards”‘Made in Nigeria” Products
The major challenges I face is access to more people willing to work with Made in Nigeria brands. Many people just don’t believe in patronising Nigerian brands. Thankfully though, this narrative is changing.
2. Lack of Quality Materials and Accessories
Also, another challenge is sourcing quality materials and accessories. If you are not careful, you could buy fake things thinking it’s original. So, you have to know your onions and what the real thing is like.
In closing, she said, “For any fashion entrepreneur in the bag making industry, I’d say, please don’t compromise on quality and delivering excellent services. Don’t sell your product cheap because you need to make money alone. Instead, get quality materials, handcraft bags neatly and let your passion show through the end products.
Also, invest in branding your business and watch your efforts pay off.”