From fancy totes to sling bags, newly launched Inai offers personalised leather bags
Last December was probably the first time we heard about Inai. This three-month-old online brand for leather bags was started by Sruti Ashok. The brand takes its name from a Tamil word inaippu which means to connect. Chennai-based Sruti was working as a graphic designer earlier in Mumbai. She quit her job and came back to the city in 2015. “I don’t have a background in fashion. Since my father was into export leather business, I thought that something with leather would be a safer option to explore under his guidance,” says Sruti.
Today, she has her own team of eight artisans, who each have experience of more than 20 years in the line. Right from sourcing the leather to stitching the bags, everything takes place at their manufacturing studio in Pallavaram, near their leather factory. “While the leather we use is all imported from Italy, the metal rims and zips are from Japan. But what makes them resourceful is that we use only stocked leather that is leftover from bulk orders to other countries,” says the 26-year-old.
From having only a few samples to display at her test launch last September, Sruti has developed 14 different styles in a span of four months. She has kept the palette neutral with tan, beige and black. “Leather bags are meant to be classy. Our logo is also subtle and you will not find unnecessary detailing like fringes or tassels,” she says.With a limited number of pieces, we are told that their wallets, key chains and passport holders with personalisation are the most in demand. Apart from that, the line has backpacks, crossbody bags and totes.
Sruti’s choice of leather type is called chrome. She says that it’s easy to work with, has a soft texture and retains colour for a long period of time. “We don’t use veg tanned leather because it is hard and limits the number of enclosures inside a bag. Grainy and print-embossed leather would definitely be our other option,” she adds. Every model has a prototype which is tested on the basis of comfort before making it to the showcase. But to complete a piece, it takes about three weeks depending on the choice of cuts, type and colour. “A good leather bag will last for years without fading a bit. As bag makers, we can identify what is genuine. This is the reason why we charge so much,” says Sruti, who plans to retail in select boutiques. The brand is currently active online and ships all over the country.
`650 - 9,500.