It goes without saying that most women love their handbags and purse. A good handbag is said to generate a feeling of self-confidence in a woman. A woman generally feels comfortable and complete when she has a bag to go with. As she steps out in style, a woman’s handbag becomes her signature piece, an extension of her identity as well as a fashion statement.
Hidesign, an Indian brand has carved a niche place in the affordable luxury handbags market that caters to savvy, sophisticated and urban professionals.
In the year 1978, Dilip Kapur, a Pd.D in International Affairs from the University of Denver, with a passion for designing leather goods, started an artisan workshop in Pondicherry. With a seed capital of Rs 25,000, along with one worker he started crafting leather goods using natural vegetable tanning processes.
The leather bags stood out as niche products, differing from the mass produced leather goods and soon began to be noticed by foreign travellers to Pondicherry, who would buy Hide design products and take them back to their respective countries. Thus Hide Design (as it was then called) started out as an export-oriented company, with its goods selling into alternative shops in the US and Australia.
Being a product out of the mainstream, Hide Design came to be sold mainly in the independent stores in UK, and became a counterculture icon. The name was later changed from Hide Design to Hidesign.
The perception of Hidesign changed from an alternative brand to a mainstream luxury brand, in 1992, after its Boxy Bag won the ‘Accessory of the Year’ award from the elite Accessory Magazine, in UK. Princess Diana had presented the award.
In 2000, Hidesign launched its award-winning campaign both in Europe and India.
Until 2000, more than 90% of Hidesign was sold only abroad, but the year 2000 saw Hidesign selling into the Indian market. Hidesign opened its own stores due to the lack of distributors who would understand their products.
Collaborating with various internationally acclaimed groups such as Louis Vuitton, Hidesign executed its growth and expansion strategy and entered into a joint-venture with Future Group.
In 2010, Hidesign launched its multistory flagship store in Pondicherry, one of India’s largest concept stores to be set up by a luxury brand, which houses a Hidesign museum.
With three design teams based in Milan, London and Pondicherry, creating styles with contemporary edge, hidesign manufactures handbags, men’s bags, travel bags, laptop bags, duffel bags, wheelies, briefcases and accessories like belts, wallets, purses, card, passport holders, and even now sunglasses and pens.
The individually handcrafted leather goods produced in limited editions have a distinctive appearance with clean silhouettes. The use of full grain, vegetable tanned leather renders a natural look and enhances the intrinsic characteristics such as strength and durability.
Handcrafted and hand finished, solid brass buckles, made using traditional methods of sand casting methods are used in place of electroplated Zinc alloy fittings.
Known for its elegance, quality and craftsmanship, Hidesign has grown from its artisan roots to an international brand with a distribution network across more than 20 countries and has achieved a balance between the international and domestic market.
Thus, one man’s passion transformed a two-man artisan workshop of edgy, alternative leather bags into the iconic leather goods brand Hidesign.
Says founder Dilip Kapoor, who is passionate about his brand.
‘I want our brand to be relevant and one that improves the lives of those who use them and makes them happy. We want to stay natural and ecological.’
Something that Hidesign could perhaps improve upon is to handle minor repairs locally at the place of purchase. The last time I had asked for a minor repair in Mumbai, I was told that all repairs are handled at Pondicherry, which takes around 45 days. Major repairs and polishing of old bags also take the same time. Post polishing, my old bag looks as good as new.
To see the online collection of stylish Hidesign handbags and wallets, on Amazon, you can search for Hidesign bags using the Amazon widget on this blog, or check out the following links:
Image credit: Website and Twitter timeline of Hidesign
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