This New Yorker’s future is as bright as the contrasting colors on her expertly structured handbags and accessories. Join us as Emilce Borz, the designer behind Bella Borz, talks about how she draws inspiration from the women in her life, how her bags demonstrate that strength, individuality and beauty; and why it is so important to keep your eyes and ears open…but your hands dirty. Check out Bella Borz’s wonderMode store.
What matters to you most as a designer?
The most important thing for me is to create pieces that are relevant for women today; pieces that ft the lifestyles of modern women, pieces that will make their lives easier and add a touch of individuality to their wardrobe.
What is your favorite part of the inspirational process?
My favorite part of the process is definitely the research. I love gathering images and inspiration for the colors, shapes and the concept behind each collection. I also enjoy researching what is going on in the world, and how women are evolving in their lifestyles and fashion sense.
As a handbag/accessories designer…it’s like you are one part architect, one part engineer, one part artist. Which part do you identify with the most?
I am very involved in the construction aspect of the handbags we make. That is why it is so important for me to have the factory in NYC (women owned!). I like to get my hands dirty. After I sketch something, I take it to the sample maker in the factory and it won’t be uncommon for me to stand next to the workers in the factory going back and forth with ideas on how to build the handbag. It is the brainstorming with people from different backgrounds that bring the best products to life!
When are you finally satisfied with a design?
We usually go through two or three rounds of changes. I bring it to a group of women, and they all try it – wearing different things – and if they say it is comfortable, and whatever they are wearing matches with the bag, it is good to go. One might be in jeans and sneakers, one might be in a nice dress…and in the mirror…if they all look good….then, I am happy.
You’ve had a successful career in packaging design. When did you know you were onto something — that had to start your own accessories line?
So, I did five (handbag) samples. We started sending the pictures to PR firms and showrooms…and we got feedback. And the feedback was good. And, we realized that if somebody would take the time to just get back to us, we might be onto something.
And, just wearing the bags – so many women commented. Interesting, because I always wore a handbag…but I never got so many comments as when I wore my own.
So…what would you tell a designer, who wants to break out on their own?
I would tell them to make sure they open their ears and their eyes. Don’t fall in love with your product. Listen to feedback. You have to be in touch with reality. You have to be in touch with your customer, your buyers, and the people who are wearing your bags.
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What colors are inspiring your 2012 collections?
The classic neutrals, with hybrid tones that blend grey and camel undertones always inspire me because of their versatility. I love to combine nudes with strong, saturated colors creating dramatic contrast. The bright colors I picked for the Spring collection are inspired by tones from nature: mandarin, azalea and sunflowers.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself with at least 20 collections under my belt and a range of products that help women to stand out from the crowd and make them feel as unique as they are!
(images: Emilce Borz)
(interview: Lindsay Parrish for wonderMode)