Kolkata designer Riddhi Kapoor is famous for her Frida Kahlo hand-stitched bags
If you’ve come across Riddhi Kapoor’s patchwork totes or ribbon embroidery bags on Instagram, you know what we’re going to talk about. If you’ve never heard about her label, and are in the market for some edgy handmade bags, we just made your day. The Kolkata-based designer has only been designing bags for her label Riddhi Pankaj for a year and a half now, but has found some astounding recognition. So, much so, that people are paying hefty shipping charges to have it flown overseas. “Sometimes the shipping costs more than the bag!” Riddhi laughs, sitting at her Regent Park studio. “ I remember I’ve shipped both Frida and Wanderlust bags to the States, in Philadelphia and Texas,” Riddhi reveals.
Kantha remains a major element in most of Riddhi’s creations, be it faux leather sling bags or fabric pouches. Riddhi, who used to own a boutique in the city almost a decade ago, had to close up shop as she moved to Pune with her husband. But she had quite a bit of supplies and fabrics left over, and when she moved back a few years ago, wanted to put them to good use. “I had saved all my good kantha pieces, and some of my finer fabrics, and wanted to make something with them. That’s how it started, really,” Riddhi, who’s the sole designer of her label, tells us.
Riddhi tells us that she is really into embroidery, which is why almost all her creations feature some amount of hand-embroidery. Each of Riddhi’s bags has an individualist edge, and makes for a statement which stands out amid the hoards of reduplicated retail-produced bags. Her Wanderlust series, for instance, comprises round sling bags featuring the fragments of atlas; or her very recent Kashmiri shawl slings, which you’ll add to cart the moment you see them. Her most iconic creation yet, has to be her Frida Kahlo sling bags, which are a hit on Instagram. Interestingly, the range was inspired by a millennial Instagram persona.
“You know, Mamta Sharma Das, the lifestyle blogger and creative stylist, who goes by the Instagram handle The Boho Balika - she actually asked me to make something along those lines. And Mamta is someone who has inspired me greatly, with her style especially. And she is an avid Frida Kahlo follower, and I wanted to incorporate her love for the artist into my creations. That got my Frida slings going and Mamta really loved them too!” says the designer, who's social networking pages display a variety of bags.
All her bags cost something between Rs 500 to Rs 2,500. “I’ve always thought that if I price my handmade bags too high, I myself would never go for something like that. And maybe opt for something else. I feel like my handmade bags should be somewhat affordable, which is why I’ve set a budget-friendly margin, and I stick to that,” adds the designer, who also tells us that her ribbon embroidery bags have found a lot of love from millennials.
“My ribbon embroidery bags have surprisingly found a huge audience among the younger crowds. After Frida, I would say that my round ribbon embroidered sling bags are the most popular. I basically use satin ribbons to make floral patterns on the bags, and they cost something around Rs 2,500. My Frida bags cost Rs 1,300.” Riddhi tells us.
Price starts at Rs 500