As a self-proclaimed fashion aficionado, I am always on the prowl for the new, innovative, and the edgy. Handbag Designer 101 is one of my favorite places to look for new talent.
The exquisite, hand-painted designs of Sandra P Medina are a meticulous fusion of art and fashion. Beautifully constructed and saturated with rich colors, these detailed works of “functional art” are a fresh alternative in a sea of today’s mass produced handbag “trends.”
Ms. Medina graciously agreed to share her expertise with FA’SHOE’NISTA regarding her wonderful creations.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: Your bags are nothing short of detailed works of art. What inspires you?
SM: I used to have inspiration from topics that I like or admire because I need to have an emotional attachment with my inspiration point. In this case, the group Pink Floyd, my favorite band, inspired my first collection and I used to catch my emotions from their songs. For that reason, I called my collection Psychedelic Handbags, because I found the colors and shapes so aesthetic. In the early days of Pink Floyd this theme was used to ambient the scenery at UFO`S bar. Also, the contrast of strong and harmonic sounds with beautiful lyrics is represented through the colors I mix, always using my intuition.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: What are some of the materials you use to create your handbags?
SM: I use canvas, denim, waterproof fabrics, and cotton. I like to experiment with any fabric, except animal furs. The paint makes different textures depending on the fabric that I am working; for example, in cotton the texture is soft to the tact, and I have had good response from my customers when I transform cotton.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: How do you choose your rich color palette?
SM: This is the most fantastic part of my job, cause I enjoy it. I choose my color palette depending on the mood and my inspiration, but always basing the combinations on primary colors. Also, I mixed three or five colors at the same time, and if they are opposite that's all the better, because I like to create new ones, based on the season or the inspiration point.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: When did you first discover your love of fashion and your capability as a designer?
SM: I've been painting since I was 5 years old, because my father is a painter. When I was a child, I was the little one of my family, so my way to have fun was to paint.
But I studied journalism in college and I stopped painting for a while and I began to miss my passion. When I finished college, I worked in an editorial position. I had the opportunity to get to know the fashion world and I fell in love with it. So, I decided to study Fashion design. However, before I studied it, I made 10 handbags that I sold to my cousins and friends, and my father told me that I had a skill to paint fabrics. He motivated me to study fashion design, and I realized that this is the love of my life along with my two sweet dogs.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: Have you had any formal training in sewing?
SM: Yes, recently I finished my studies in Fashion Design. I studied for four years and I learned to sew and to illustrate, which is my other passion. Now I am beginning to create artistic fashion illustrations for some magazines.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: What designers do you admire?
SM: This is a tough one, because there are many designers that I admire. Edith Head is one, I like her work very much, and the fact that she worked as costume designer for Alfred Hitchcok`s movies makes her a fashion legend for me. Also, I like Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: Tell us about the design process from beginning to end. What is a typical day for you?
SM: First, I sketch the design with colors. Then I make a pattern to cut the fabric. The second, and my favorite one, is to paint the fabric. This is the moment when I disconnect my mind and my soul and relax myself painting and mixing colors to create something very personal. The last step is to sew the handbag.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: What has been your experience since being featured on Handbag Designer 101?
SM: I have to say that since I graduated that has been the best experience, because I have had good and positive responses from the people. For example, this interview is very motivating to me and the fact that other countries are going to know my work is the best part of it. Also handbag designer 101 grants you the opportunity to know people in the fashion business and that is the idea when you are establishing your brand.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: Now for the personal stuff. Where is your favorite place in the world?
SM: London. I would like to live there and establish my brand.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: What is your favorite color?
FA’SHOE’NISTA: Describe a good day.
SM: A good day is when I can do whatever I want with my time, and the most important part of that day is that I could go to walk with my two dogs.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: Describe a not so good day.
SM: A not so good day is when someone that I care about gets sick.
FA’SHOE’NISTA: And the final, clichéd question. What advice would you give to aspiring fashionites and fledgling handbag designers such as myself?
SM: I think the perfect advice is that you have to listen to your inner voice, don´t listen to anybody but you. Only you know what makes you happy and you only do things well when you are satisfied with your work. I did that and changed my profession despite all my family’s advice. I listened my to inner voice and I am really happy with my second profession.
FA’SHOE’NISTA thanks Sandra P. Medina for her time and for sharing her talent and creative energy with us. Congratulations and much success!
For more information on the Handbag creations of Sandra Medina, visit www.sandrapmedina.com.