Live and in person

 Handbag designer Kent Stetson will be showing his colorful bags at CraftBoston Spring at the Cyclorama, April 4-6. Cotton bags can be customized for $60 - $120, while the exotic leathers cost up to $800.


Design your career

 "My top advice would be to learn how to make the thing that you are designing and don't get frustrated if the first thousand pieces aren't perfect." Handbag designer Kent Stetson lived by this mantra, saying he "lost a few years" learning his craft. But he needed that time to perfect and create the beauties he makes today.


DIY Stetson bag?

For inspiration, there is a box aptly named ‘Bag Bone Yard” that handbag designer Kent Stetson keeps in his studio. Its contents may once have been rejects, but Kent often trawls through and finds gems. He then sets to work, disassembling and reconfiguring them into different shapes and sizes. Et voilà, you’ve got a new bag.

Keep calm, carry on
Keywords: Design
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Fashion

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.

 

KentStetson.com 

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