Ridhima Bagla completed a B-Tech in Electronics and Communication and was about to embark on an MBA when she decided her dreams lay elsewhere. She decided to become a handbag designer and since then she has been striving to learn as much as she can, recently completing an Accessory Design course in Milan.
Three years ago Ridhima had a Eureka moment which led to the creation of her brand Aarbe. We caught up with her to find out all about Aarbe and the idea behind her beautiful handbags.
When Ridhima decided she wanted to make handbags she knew she wanted to make products that would last a lifetime and would be versatile, classic pieces that would compliment one’s personality.
Apart from the rich fabrics, intricate details and craftsmanship, what sets Aarbe apart is that each bag contains an LED lighting system. This means that an in-built sensor enables it to light up depending on the level of light around. This blend of ethnicity, modern sensibilities and technology perfectly fits into today’s technology driven society. Perhaps given Ridhima’s background in design it is not surprising she wanted to develop a stylish product and took the practicality of it one step further.
Ridhima says that the idea to put LED lighting inside the bags came when she was out one evening with friends when they needed to find something in a bag and found themselves doubling their phones as torches. This was when she truly thought about the inconvenience of using bags in the dark. Realising that there had to be a simpler way of using handbags in the dark, she spent over a year researching and developing the concept. A year she says that has been truly worthwhile.
Aarbe was officially formed in 2014 after painstaking research which included speaking to people within the industry, studying the available products on the market to try and grasp how every label is unique and has a trademark quality. With the distinguishing factor for Aarbe in place, what remained was the challenge of creating clutches that were beautiful on the outside, as well as convenient to use on the inside, at all times – day or night.
The inspiration for the outer design of the Aarbe handbags comes very much from Indian crafts and techniques. The handmade fabrics, rich colours and delicate embellishments are all evident in each handbag. Ridhima says that she is continually inspired by India’s diverse culture which has produced a plethora of variety in weaves and prints. However, aside from using such fabrics and embroidery techniques in her design, she is conscious that perhaps the more important factor (at least from a commercial standpoint) is to satisfy and appeal to the sensibilities of modern women. It is these two factors which Ridhima strives to amalgamate into her creations to produce unique classics.
For Ridhima her biggest inspiration within the industry is Meera Mahadevia. She is a big fan of the aesthetics she brings to her clutches and loves that each clutch is different and has interwoven various elements to create marvellous pieces. Ridhima’s long found love of handbags is evident as she admits to owning around 30 handbags before setting up Aarbe and far more now since every time her and her team develop a new handbag she keeps duplicates for her personal collection.
On the developing partnership between the fashion and tech industry as witnessed in the birth of smart watches and other wearable tech, Ridhima believes that we are now realising that while sectors tend to exist individually, they don’t need to be mutually exclusive. With the increase of our consumerist appetites and the expectation that our modern needs can and should be met, amalgamating different sectors to create better products is the need of the hour. The Aarbe team are trying to provide a solution to a very common problem, and it is convenience that is the driving force between this greater synthesis between fashion and technology. After all it is this marriage between fashion and technology that is producing truly unique products that provide solutions for today’s society.
In the future, the aim is for Aarbe to become a globally recognised brand that will add value to people’s lives. The guiding value and motivation behind Aarbe is to bring a new dimension of style and convenience to an age old industry.
For aspiring designers, Ridhima believes that embracing one’s uniqueness is the way to go, and that once you have set your eyes on a goal be prepared to keep shifting paths to achieve it. Surrounding yourself with good people who are supportive and lift you up is also a great helper on the way to success.
Get your own Aarbe clutch here.
Image source: Strand of Silk