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This Chennai couple is putting Instagram users on alert with their trendy leather bags

Hari Madhavan and Ramya Balachandran of Hydes Studio   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

She was a HR professional and he a design graduate from Milan.

She spent her days dealing with employees in a corporate firm, and he lent a helping hand at his family’s leather business. But one day they decided to put their minds together and go from being just spouses to business partners. And that’s how Hydes Studio — the Chennai label that has been producing leather bags that are making their way all across the country via Instagram — was born.

“I always wanted to start my own company. It was on my mind even after I married Hari,” says Ramya Balachandran, co-founder of Hydes Studio. “I love bags and I’m the kind who’ll change her bag every day of the week,” she laughs. So, when they decided to branch out on their own, designing bags seemed like the logical thing to do. While Ramya is the critic and official tester of prototypes, and the brain behind the marketing of the label, Hari Madhavan, who holds a degree in Fashion Designing from Instituto Marangoni in Milan, is the creative and design head.

A leather bag by Hydes Studio

A leather bag by Hydes Studio   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Bespoke collection

From totes, satchels to sling bags and women’s wallets, Hydes Studio has a variety to choose from. “We spent a year to understand the market. Our first collection had five totes and three slings. While the totes were well received, the slings had a mixed reaction. Now we release annual lookbooks,” says Hari. While they don’t name their lookbooks, their bags have names such as Lisa, Amy and Mia. “I draw inspiration from buildings and architecture for my bags,” says the designer.

“Our bags are all bespoke. We make them once we receive an order and customise as per the client’s requirement,” adds Ramya, while showing one of their large-sized totes. “This was originally made for a client who wanted to fit her camera in it along with the lenses. But the design became quite popular so we began making it for the others without the camera and lens compartments. A lot of clients also request for bags with laptop cushions because nobody wants to be carting along different bags,” explains Hari.

A Hydes Studio bag

A Hydes Studio bag   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

All their bags are edge finished, stick to earthy colours (they have on occasion used brighter colours upon client request) and proudly display the leather’s natural texture and finish replete with nicks and scars. “We don’t process the leather too much. The idea is to let it retain its natural characteristic,” says Hari.

But the one thing they firmly stay away from is bling. Any metal embellishments are given an antique finish so it blends in with the leather. Even their label is understated and embossed. What the makers are also very particular about is using responsibly sourced leather. “We only source leather from companies that are BLC certified. These companies also ensure that the water they use in their factories is treated and then used for agricultural purposes. Moreover, a leather bag, we believe, is made to last a lifetime, making it sustainable,” says Ramya. They’ve even had clients send back bags for polishing and basic maintenance after using them for a few years.

The label sells via Instagram and also exhibits at pop-ups such as By Hand from the Heart. “We earlier stocked at MaalGaadi as well,” says Ramya, adding, “When we first launched we had an overwhelming response from Bengaluru. Even today, most of our orders are from there. But we now get orders from other cities such as Chennai, Gurugram, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi as well.”

Their bags are priced from ₹4,500 for the slings and ₹7,500 onwards for the totes. While they currently only have bags and wallets for women, plans are afoot to launch a men’s collection by the year end. Work is also on to launch a website soon.

Hydes Studio is available on its instagram handle hydes.studio and via their number 7708777138.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 12:32:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/luxury/this-chennai-couple-is-putting-instagram-users-on-alert-with-their-trendy-leather-bags/article28422678.ece

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