Natali Downing of Roem Bags designs and makes gorgeous one-of-a-kind bags and sells them on bidorbuy.
If you are the kind of person who likes to wear unique things that no one else has, or could ever replicate, them Roem bags are for you.
Find out what makes these bags so interesting in the mini-interview below and have a look at her beautiful bags on bidorbuy.
Some Questions and Answers with Natali
What was it that got you into designing and creating bags in the first place?
I have been sewing and designing since I was four years old. After completing my degree I couldn’t see myself in that kind corporate environment. I loved the idea of having a handbag that was rare, it drew attention and compliments and added “zoosh” to any outfit. An interesting non-commercial bag also has a great way of complimenting your personal style. I have always tried to fill my cupboard with unique handbags and I only knew of one or two ways of going about it. I saw a huge gap in the market and started thinking of ideas to make bags even more unique and by having a bag that was just one of a kind. Off-cuts and second hand clothes was the obvious answer! If a bag’s fabric is limited there is no way of reproducing it. Added advantages turned out to be that it was environmentally friendly, functional and affordable.
What goes on in your head when you design a bag? Does each bag have it’s own story?
The texture and patterns are always the starting points. When I find a piece of fabric that I think is suitable to my market, is of good quality and good condition, I normally have an idea on the spot of what I am going to create. I have a vast collection of handbag pics from magazines; I keep in touch with international fashion trends and even décor books or textures that I have seen while snorkelling have inspired me. I also notice every pleat, bow, knot or pattern I see on the street and make plenty of mental notes. I never draw a bag beforehand; the design is in my head.
A bag on its own doesn’t usually have a story but the fabric, the design or trimmings almost always has a history in some way or the other. I have used buttons that are more than twenty years old. I have found fabrics that have lived the test of time through the eighties and nineties and to this day remain gorgeous and fashionable.
Where do you find the materials for your bags that give them their unique edge?
I do love the off-cuts that I find at décor shops, they turn out to be fantastic by adding some decorations, their texture and durability is also incredible. I also love finding antique fabrics in the cupboards of ladies that have been hoarding fabrics over decades. There you find the most unique materials with endless potential.
What kind of person do you design your bags for?
I‘ve had many diverse ladies buying from me. From chartered accountants with a conservative taste to the more fashionably concious and artistic types. Some buy it more for the functionality; while others for the uniqueness, flair and the statement it makes. I always try to find out from my clients what and why they buy the handbags they do. I just makes perfect sense to know what your clients needs are and I also try to design for as many diverse styles and preferences as I can imagine.
What’s it like selling online?
It has been a bit tough. I think many South Africans don’t have enough faith in buying any type of clothing online yet. On the other hand I strongly believe that shopping on the web is growing fast in South Africa and we will be joining the likes of first world countries soon. It is the fastest and most efficient way of finding exactly what you need and want. I saw the potential of selling online a couple of years ago and still believe that purchasing online is the future.