Coming from a diverse background seems to give fashion designers a different perspective when designing a collection. Fashion designers who began their career as an artist, such as Taranjit Cheema and Irakli Nasidze, allow themselves to be guided by their artistic intuition and the delicate technique of painting when developing of their collections. Boutique owner turned fashion designer, Alexandra von Canisius, follows the thought processes of buyers to produce the perfect pieces for her consumers. For Steven Enns, the designer behind Hand & Sew leather goods, the source inspiration comes from problem-solving. As a Product Designer, his observation of daily life intrigues him to come up with an answer or solution to what is lacking in his surroundings. Making an aesthetic statement is not the only goal, Steven makes sure that each bag that he designs serves one’s needs.
He made his first bag, a beautiful large tan tote, because he wanted something beautiful that is easy to carry and can fit his whole apartment. He then went on to design a backpack because he needed something durable to carry his groceries, while looking stylishly. And as I dug more into the piles of his creations, something caught my eyes: two antique looking vanity bags, one in deep burgundy and one in white. Can you actually use the bags to carry your vanity items? Sure you can! Can they complement your cocktail dresses and (faux) fur coat? Well, the pictures above say it all! I guess they are the perfect products to describe what he likes in handbags design: sleek simple lines with beautiful craftsmanship, but always functional.
Englave: Where are you based?
Steven: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Englave: Describe your brand in 3 words
Steven: Smart, Simple, Craftsmanship
Englave: What unique characteristics do you incorporate in your creations?
Steven: I spend a lot of time prototyping and designing so that all of my items are as simple and smart as possible, minimizing areas of stress, and optimizing use.
Englave: Why did you choose to design handbags?
Steven: I love leather. I love how its natural, stiff, soft, weatherproof, and how it grows with you. Handbags are something that should be loved and cherished, carried everyday. Leather is perfect for this use.
Englave: What is your creative process in coming up with a handbag design?
Steven: I do a lot of sketches and drawings, plan out with paper patterns, and then set to building. I usually go through 3-5 fully-finished prototypes and iterations before it reaches my standard for sales.
Englave: Where do you get your inspiration?
Steven: I am a big lover of product design. As such, I notice things that most people would pass-by, and try to solve problems some others don’t even see. A lot of my inspiration comes from the history of leatherwork, combined with modern contemporary forms.
Englave: What is your biggest struggle and wish as an emerging designer?
Steven: Connections. I wish I could talk directly to whoever I need to so that I could move forward. I know that there is a market for the things that I make, but wish I could tap into it more directly.
Englave: What is next for your brand?
Steven: More iteration and even larger items. Hopefully with more sales and capital I can start to create more complex items with more exotic and beautiful materials.
Englave: Which designer do you admire most and why?
Steven: I admire Hermes tremendously. In a market saturated by machines and technology, they took a step back and followed the history of leatherworking by hand, with individual craftspeople. It’s amazing to see it on such a worldwide scale. Their operation is beautiful.
Englave: Which designer do you want to collaborate with the most?
Steven: I love the sleek simple lines of Rick Owens fashion lines, and would love to create a line of leather items with his operation.
Englave: Where can we purchase your product?
Steven: Shop Online at http://www.handandsew.com