Spotlight: Ora Bags

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Finding great local designers to support is one of the great privileges and challenges of being a blogger. Vancouver has plenty of great local designers, but the number that fit my personal aesthetic are few. I was fortunate to come across Ora, a local handbag company that uses new and vintage leather pieces.

Recently I had the opportunity to ask Randi Obenauer, the designer of Ora bags a few questions about the company and her Fall 2012 collection.

How did you get started with Ora Bags?

I started making the fist bags while I was still a student at Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design. I had previously studied both Fine Art and also Automotive Upholstery. Through my upholstery work, I was familiar with leather and industrial sewing. I used some scrap leather I had and made two bags for myself and my sister, and was quickly overwhelmed by the reactions I got wearing my bag around the city. Before long I was in a few shops, and Fashion Magazine did a little write up on Ora, and it all snowballed from there.

Where does the name come from?

I really love the concept of the Aura as the light around the body, or spiritual energy. I related the word to letters from my name, Randi Obenauer, and changed the spelling. 

What was your inspiration for the Fall 2012 collection?

I'm really inspired by vintage fashions and also by the medium of leather. I'm also totally self indulgent within my design process, I make bags that I want and need, and I make them from beautiful leather that's strong and durable. I expanded my line for Fall 2012 to include more unisex options, including the extra thick Riley briefcase. The Kinley fringe leather bag was the bag I had been dreaming of for quite some time, I love the extra long fringe. I also gained immense inspiration working with so many talented individuals on my Fall look book and video, I'm really looking forward to future collaborations!

What's next for Ora Bags?

I'm already excited for a new collection and photos and video for Spring 2013, I really love the entire process of dreaming up and orchestrating each new collection. I'll be introducing more unisex options and more small accessories in future lines. I'd really love to see Ora appear in the pages of some international publications and I'm hoping to gain more retailers worldwide.  

Ora bags can be found

Nouvelle Nouvelle
Whoa! Nellie
El Kartel


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