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  • Emerging Designer’s Take On New York Fashion Week
  • Author avatar
    Calvin Coles

Emerging Designer’s Take On New York Fashion Week

"All Photos: Ron Carr, CoutureFashionWeek.com"

IHLE BAGS​ goes beyond trendy, is anything but ordinary, and designs handbags with the extraordinary in mind, and NY just loved it! What an amazing experience! There is so much effort that goes into creating your designs and creating your business, to be able to watch it all walk out on a NY Runway​ and shine is just amazing!

Much of my preparation for this show was watching tons of videos of my idol Brand’s fashion shows to learn what they do, and see what they’re doing to get that “FEEL” across that everyone eats up. After studying them, taking notes, figuring out what it is that I want the audience to feel, and then putting lessons learned to my ideas…; to have the models walk out and see that I did it! I created the feel that got everyone buzzing! To see the audience’s faces light up as the models came out, and fingers pointing at my Bags while there’s a smile on their face. It’s a great feeling!

The whole experience from my phone call with Andres Aquino, the Producer of Couture Fashion Week, to become part of the Fashion show, to the last day of Couture Fashion Week was exhilerating. As an Emerging Designer, just the thought of your designs being seen on a platform in NY will get your blood going; never mind when it’s coming to fruition!

The staff and team for Couture Fashion Week were absolutely top notch to work with. Their selection of models are amazing. This was their 25th season, and it showed! They were very organized, yet kept a fun loving attitude throughout the entire weekend. The day before Couture Fashion Week began, a blizzard was set to hit New England. This caused all sorts of plane delays which led into delays in Designers arriving - me being one of them; and the staff of Couture Fashion Week never faltered. They adjusted and rescheduled their appointment book to all of our delays. Something that seemed like it could be a disaster, was set even keeled without a blink in their eye. I just can’t talk highly enough about them. As Andres Aquino put it “Each staff member has a job they love, honor, and take very seriously. Together, it creates success!” And that was so true and apparent as we watched the weekend unfold. I was truly honored to be a part of it.

IHLE has had some breakthroughs, but going to NY was its biggest yet. Being my first Fashion Show, and getting involved with only a month to prepare, there was much research and designing to be done. Everything came together in a timely fashion as if the universe were telling me this was meant to be.

I’ve been developing my brand, IHLE (pronounced ‘eye-lee’), for the last six years. Through bursts of obsession and trial and error, I’ve developed not only a handbag line, but a company with products that reflect what I love and a brand that is becoming recognized and sought after. Through enjoying this life, traveling like I love to travel, and meeting new people, I get to incorporate all that I love in this life into my handbags. I craft them from materials I find from all over the world, but I keep them manufactured right here in the US. Small batch artisan craftsmanship, means every handbag is unique. They all have some sort of variation within each of them.

I learned young that we aren’t promised tomorrow, so I do everything I can to live Today. This attitude encouraged me to learn how to sew a handbag, create a collection, learn how to trademark a brand, gain exposure, knock on doors to end up in a boutique; and most recently, it encouraged me to take advantage of an amazing opportunity - having my own Fashion Show at NYFW-Couture Fashion Week!  When you eliminate the words “I can’t,” amazing things begin to unfold.

My dad always taught to ask questions, get involved, and surround yourself with people that know more than you. My mother always taught to not get frustrated over things out of your control, and to stop and smell the roses no matter how “busy” you may seem. Together they instilled amazing drive with amazing appreciation for this life we are given. Till this day, even as a grown woman, I reflect on what I was taught and wish to spread their wisdom through my work.

As an Emerging Designer and ‘live this life to the fullest’ enthusiast, I am striving to put my stamp on this world through my IHLE BAGS.

"All Photos: Ron Carr, CoutureFashionWeek.com"
  • Author avatar
    Calvin Coles