Keep calm, carry on
With fashion shows in supermarkets (Chanel), and Cornflakes sprinkled on the London runways (Anya Hindmarch) Kent Stetson's fruit-filled designs are wildly on-trend. His whimsical bags have no rules, and many feature fast food and Matchbox cars. Born on a horse farm in New Hampshire, he remembers watching his mother stain rawhide straps and hand stitch thick leather. These early memories led him to become a self-taught craftsman.
Fancy a bacon bag with a bacon-strip clasp? How about your favorite drink? A gin and tonic with two lime clasps, anyone? Kent’s accessories are made in his Providence, RI, studio using a 1950s Singer sewing machine. He loves his clients' wild requests, and for the price of $60, clients are flocking to him to customize unique pieces. Kent thinks of his bags as playful, and believes they should be conversation starters as each one tells its owner’s story. If he could choose anyone to carry his designs, it would be America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama. Within a few hours of talking, he whipped up a Michelle bag, a chrome-dyed American buffalo leather tote with patent patches and two love hearts.
Kent made his first handbag 11 years ago. He held his first solo art show in 2001 and sold nothing. Nothing! Now he and an assistant stitch up to 300 bags a month and sell in over 75 stores around the world. But there's one person Kent still has to convince to wear his fabulous accessories: his mother. She doesn't carry a handbag--but she's still very proud.