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  • Selima Smith-Dell

The Collaboration of My Dreams Pt. II Kent Stetson


Selima

I'm so excited to have this exclusive interview with you, Kent. What an honor. How did Kent Stetson handbags come to be? When was the first bag created? How has your vision and the bags changed or grown over time?

Kent Stetson

I was a creative kid and growing up on a horse farm I watched my mother make harnesses and maintain all of her bridles and Saddles. Some very famous labels began as saddlery companies- Hermès, Gucci, and Coach just to name a few. In 2003 I had the idea to cut up some of my paintings and fashion them in to handbags to sell at the shoe store where I worked at the time. I slowly built a following of collectors around this idea that art can happen in unexpected places. This organizing principle of the collection has remained unchanged since I first started making bags.

Selima

Where do you sell your bags?

Kent

We sell our bags in several hundred boutiques and specialty shops. You can find our bags in many museum design stores and independent retailers. I do a lot of trunk shows and popup shops ( our annual holiday popup store in Grand Central Station draws a huge audience). Our bags are also sold on Kentstetson.com. Fun fact, I use the pronouns “Us, we, our” when referring to Kent Stetson Handbags, and “I, me, my” when referring to myself the person.

Selima

Where does your inspiration come from? I love carrying around my food Kent Bags. They are always such a hit. Everyone loves them. I mean who doesn’t love seeing sushi, oysters, donuts or pizza on a purse. Even our four legged friends love the bags. I have had quite a few dogs try and lick or nibble on the donut or pizza. It’s a hoot. Where was the inspiration for creating bags that are so creative, innovative and specialized?

Kent

Thanks for the compliment! I think that inspiration is everywhere, everything I see and encounter gets metabolized into ideas for new bags. Ultimately, it isn’t about me as much as much as it is the person who is carrying the bag. The person using the bag is the one who brings it to life. I want someone to carry something that guarantees that they are going to have a fun time and make new friends. The bag is an ice-breaker, it prompts conversations, and sets the tone for social interactions. I’m always adding prints and themes that expand on the interests of our ever-growing audience of collectors.


Selima

How long have you been creating bags? What is your design background?

Kent

As mentioned previously, I started the line in 2003. Aside from watching my mom make things for the horses, I also worked in a shoe store through college and for several years after graduating. I learned about all different kinds of bags, what wears well, what sells well, and where there were opportunities to make something that didn’t already exist in the competitive industry of handbags. After you have seen one of our bags for the first time, it remains etched in your memory and you will be able to instantly identify when you see them. From this signature collection, we have expanded a line of one of a kind pieces where we really push the creativity in other unique directions. Those larger one of a kind pieces are harder to identify as our’s, other than the fact that they always turn heads.

Lipstick: When I walked into Crossroads Trading Co and looked up I instantly saw this dainty blush dress and I almost fainted, truly. This dress is truly one of my favorite additions to my collection. It has the most flattering floor length. It has a string belt that cinches at the waist with delicate gold details. The neckline itself is a scandal yet to be reconciled. The dress billows in all the right ways and if the wind hits you just right you will look like you belong in a Vogue magazine.

Cubist: I am not one to walk around in bodycon dresses but when I came across this sterling white dress from Asos I had to add it. to my collection. It fit just perfectly and flattered all of my curves. I could hitch it up for a flirty, day time look or wear it at it's ankle length for a scandalous night out. It has the most fun silk ruffled sleeves. I decided to pair this sexy dress with a big fabric red bow and my Cubist Kent Stetson clutch. I finished the look with my Steve Madden black booties with a clear glass heel.

Sushi: When I came across this darling ruffle flower dress at Crossroads I fell head over heels. The dress is made by the darling brand Wayf Clothing. I have gotten all sorts of delicate compliments about this southern belle dress. It has a flattering ankle length and paired so eloquently with Kent Stetson's sushi clutch. I decided to shoot this look with one of my best friends in magical Temescal Canyon Park. I finished the look with my staple beige booties with a clear glass heel.


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