Handmade Faux Cork Clutch by Corals + Nuts
The LAB strives to be a global destination for handmade excellence. I love it when I find an artists from a far away place who is making handmade and making it well.
Take for example Mezay Ugbo, a 22 year old freelance fashion designer and handmade artist. Of Nigerian and Indian heritage and currently living in India, Mezay creates minimalistic, practical and colourful bags and clutches under the label Corals+Nuts. Let’s get to know her better, shall we?
1. What inspired you to begin your collection?
I had always wanted to have my own fashion line but after graduating fashion school, I realised it was not as easy as I thought it would be. With sketch books full of ideas and a few freelance design stints in between, I still had no idea of where to start. One day, my sister asked me to make her a make-up bag and it then struck me that I could use the fabric in my stash to create bags and raise money for my design collection. I soon began creating and selling limited edition bags, I enjoyed the process and could not stop making bags and totally loved everything about it especially the concept of “handmade” (it was fairly new to me and still is to most people around me).
2. Can you name a favorite source of inspiration?
I am mostly inspired by the materials I work with. There are times where a beautiful texture, print or colour just becomes the design, so I like to keep the other aspects of the design minimal. I also have a long list of blogs and magazines that I read regularly to keep up with trends. I also love pinterest for inspiration.
Handmade Leather Tassels by Corals + Nuts
3. What materials do you love to use?
I love leather; colours are just so much bolder and better on leather. I also adore sequins and large prints.
4. Do you have a dream collaborator?
I love designing jewellery but I lack the technical skills so collaborating with jewellery makers would be exciting. I also have a few local artisan crafts that are close to my heart (I would like to have in my work)-the silk weavers that combine silk with threads of gold (zari) to create a rich textile (kanjivarams), Kalamkari-a textile with intricate and elaborate motifs that are painted free hand and the Rabaris. You can never find more vibrant and colourful embroidery than theirs.
5. When you need a musical muse, who do you turn up the volume for?
I love Beyoncé; her voice just gives me that immediate boost of power. I work in front of the TV and there are always movies, soap operas or music videos (in a variety of languages) playing in the background.
Handmade Leather Clutch by Corals + Nuts
6. How do you use social media/blogging to promote your work?
Promoting my work is something I am still not used to. I recently found the LAB and am trying out all the Assignments. I find the PROJECT ICANDOIT365 really effective. Now, I have something to post about every single day, some days even two. I originally started blogging to give my customers and supporters an insight into my processes, but lost track along the way. I have just started documenting my work for more interesting posts. I post quite often on Facebook and am guilty of transferring those posts to my Twitter page, till I get a grip on it (which is taking quite some time).
7. Where do you see your project/shop going?
I intend keeping my shop small and manageable as I am very hands on and cannot let my bags out of my sight. I started out last August, and I had no idea I could manage wholesale but I did. This year, I am taking things slowly and concentrating on getting my shop out there before taking on more assignments. I recently started working on custom orders and it is really exciting and gives me an idea of what customers want from my work. Big on my list is to get a nice workspace, I work from all corners of my home and it can get real crazy at times.