Kamilah Willacy - Kamilah Willacy

Finalist of the The BERNINA Best Handmade Handbag

United States

2015 Finalist Kamilah Willacy Kamilah Willacy


How are your bags made?
I color printed on a 2 aluminum panels and placed it inside a gold steel frame/ front and back black woven fabric is sewn with a sewing machine and then glued into the frame. I then mixed epoxy resin and then pour on top of the steel color panel- I blow torch the bubbles out which also helps cure the finish. this is left to dry in a warm place in a air tight box. Once it is dry after a day or two, I begin the same process for the other side of the bag.

What is the primary material used?
Steel and aluminum for the outside and fabric for the inside

Do you make all of your own bags? If not, please explain who helps you make your bags.
I have made every initial design under my Kamilah Willacy Signature Label This allows me to help explain and show production staff how to make it should I need volume pieces done. when I get a bespoke request,it is always me who has made it by hand. Every minaudiere/ evening clutch is made by hand and can not be done any other way due to the unique materials and process used to create it.

What is your design inspiration?
For my fw15/16 signature collection, I designed an entire collection based of of medieval stained glass. This collection caught the attention of Vogue and they asked for me to create a custom piece based on Chinese art for the upcoming Met Gala which will be celebrating art art and design this year. I then created Despar. one bag with a dragon fly and the other with peacock (shown in the attached image) The Despar was inspired by Chinese embroidered fabric where the peacock and dragon fly symbolism is constantly used. The Chinese equated the peacock with divinity, rank, power, and beauty while the dragon fly is associated with prosperity, harmony - a good luck charm. hence the reason why I chose to create artwork based on that.

What sewing machine to you use to make your bags?
I have two sewing machines I works with a industrial Kenmore and Bernina

See other finalists from the 2015 handbag awards