Bags, footwear and accessories by Kris Designs translate to pockets of joy

A bag as any fashionista will tell you is not just a bag. It could be a clutch, a tote, a satchel or a purse. It is an accessory, a comforter, the repository of your life secrets and many more intangibles. There is never such a thing as too many bags. When the bag you carry tells so much about you, considerable thought would naturally go into buying one.

And if you like bags in funky yet classic colours, with clean lines, robust yet fine detailing you could do yourself a favour and buy a Kris bag. In leather, with an elegant finish in unusual hues including a fun fuchsia, a delicate mauve, a lively green and a vivid blue, the bags boast of unfussy cuts with an irresistible sense of play.

We meet Kris at Basava Ambara and over coffee and warm carrot cake, the soft-spoken designer takes us through his journey. “I studied fashion informally,” he begins. “I worked with textiles and clothes. But leather was always pulling me back. I was exposed to leather when I was in school. I was in 11th standard when I met an American who was making footwear for himself. I was fascinated and made a pair of sandals and a bag, which were appreciated. I was blindly following my instincts. I got myself cobbler’s needles.”

Kris then went to design school. “I got into the apparel industry and also was doing some teaching. But there was something pulling me back to leather. I made bags for friends, which were again appreciated. My parents didn’t approve of me working with leather and so I packed up my tools and gave it to a friend. ”

Kris was designing clothes under the label Kris. But when the call became too insistent to ignore, Kris went back to creating bags. “”Five years ago, I started making bags and there was no looking back. For three months I just made bags. I showed them to Sonali from Grasshopper. She liked them, and that was when I realised this could work.”

Kris kept five to six bags at Grasshopper. “They sold well. And that boosted my confidence. Now I sell out of Amethyst in Chennai, Barefoot in Goa, Pink Gold in Delhi and Joe Ikareth in Kochi.” And yes, his parents have slowly come around.

Kris tried the cobbler’s stitch for the bags but realised that saddle stitch worked better. “The bags are completely handmade. The bags do not have a lining as I don’t want to disturb the fabric.” That is why every bag carries a heart, to show it is made with love and a leaf because Kris loves nature.

Talk of nature has the conversation moving towards Kris’s Pencher Shop label. “I wanted to do something for the environment, something in recycling,” the 35-year-old designer commented. And Kris hit upon the idea of using the inner tubes of tyres (hence Pencher Shop — the spelling is in keeping with bizarre spelling most puncture shops proudly sport). “I needed material which wouldn’t fray, and the tubes were just right,” Kris says as he shows an absolutely darling of a bag where the tyre tubes make for an interesting pattern while the green edges lend the necessary splash of colour.

The prices range from Rs. 350 for a pouch and between Rs. 1500 and Rs. 7000 for the bags. Kris Designs are available at Basava Ambara, 93 (old 35 & 35/1) Kanakapura Road, Basavangudi. Call 26561940 or 65461856.