Viernes is Bag Day IX: Menswear!

Today I courageously ventured into menswear again. My previous attempts had been, on first try, NSFM. Not suitable for men. Cue too-narrow chest area, too-skinny pants, too-tight neckhole.

Ah well what the heck, I adjusted those in time for the pending photoshoot each time (thanks for your patience, Fra!), and now, with all my menswear mistakes behind me (:-P), I decided to give it another try.

I like menswear because little innovations mean a big deal. Womenswear, you have to choose whether you want to be master of cut, or master of detail, or embellishment maestro, or knitwear mistress. But menswear? Just do some asymmetric magic and you are Man of Kingswear King of Menswear. I am sure I am wrong, but what do I know?

I figured out that my dimensions (which I use to make most of the clothes in the limited Minku womenswear line) don’t quite work for men. Broader shoulders, they have. And longer arms. Narrower hips. Lower waists.

Today I made a long-sleeved hoodie. It’s extra-long long-sleeved. I used some lamé fabric for the drawstring. And some black stretch fabric left over from a dress I made before, for the hoodie lining.

It’s looking spiffy.

I tried it on at many points during its construction. It’s super-freaking-baggy.

Like it should be.

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I like comfortwear, but I won’t have guessed that I would make a baggy hoodie — which starts to venture into streetwear even. Streetwear with a sweet edge. I love polka dots, and shine.

This Minku thing is a journey and I look forward to continuing to surprise myself.

Minku hoodie made from jersey polka dot fabric (cotton, polyester and elastane mix) with lamé detailing and extra-long sleeves.

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Viernes is Bag Day V: Pink Prunes Fagunwa Bag

On the old Minku ‘About’ page, I said that Minku is a brand inspired by love, friendship, travel and the sea. It’s true — I love all these things, not least travel. One of the unintended consequences of starting the brand is that the bags somehow seem to end up on the arms of ladies and gentlemen who love to travel. Thus I often get to see the world vicariously through them.

I’ve been singing IwannagotoMoroccoIwannagotoMorocco into the ears of whoever would listen, so it is only fitting that when a Minku bag goes to the oldest marketplace in the Arab world (see: Muttrah Souq), draped on the arm of a lovely Minku client and friend, it should get its very own post.

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Clemence visited the Minku atelier last summer, actually to see  me, but it was a chance to see in person, the bags she had heard and said so much about. On setting her eyes on the Pink Prune Fagunwa bag, she asked when I would complete it, and I casually answered, “when someone shows interest in buying it.”

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Some weeks later, the bag was on its way to Clemence’s door, lining completed with the pockets she had specified…

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and packaged thus:

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Today, Clem sent me this lovely note (below), and the picture of her sporting it stylishly in the Muttrah Souq to go with it. I love, love, love this particular Fagunwa bag — I would be lucky to find this joyous combination of leathers and fabric again, and it’s a delight to see it on the arm of someone who loves it even more!

ClemMinkuTestimonial

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Viernes is bag day II: The Emure bag

Although I was raised in Lagos, there’s some pretty hard core Ekiti-ness (etymology: Ile Olokiti, or land of the hills) flowing in our veins that really defines us, my parents’ children.

Ekiti is in the Yoruba region of Nigeria. It has its own dialect of Yoruba called Ekiti which, though I don’t speak fluently, makes occasional cameos in the midst of the English and Yoruba that are the language staples in our household. Sometimes those cameos come thanks to the music of Elemure Ogunyemi (the fun part of the video below starts at 01:00).

‘Elemure’ means King of Emure, a town in Ekiti State. So you would say “Elemure of Emure’ in the same way you would say the Ooni of Ife, for instance.

In honor of that lovely hilly Ekiti town, I present you the Emure bag.

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Can you see the way the top of the bag undulates to emulate a hilly landscape? Mustard is one of my favourite colours, and being able to combine mustard leather with a mustard damask interior was for me like this huge wow moment from which I doubt I’ll ever recover.

Like, dude, wow.

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The Emure bag is a complete sensory feast, from the textured cowskin of its exterior and handles to the no-holds-barred hand-stitching on the exterior. I’m just gonna be silly and say that it’s one bag that is going at a ‘giveaway’ price, given the collectors item that it is. I don’t know if I would make another Emure bag, and I’m totally cool with it if this one never leaves the shelves.

Interior: Full damask lining, zipped inner pocket, leather-trimmed cell phone holder pocket.

I love Chief Elemure Ogunyemi’s music and how it brings me closer to Ekiti culture through a dialect I don’t hear enough of. I love Ekiti, that relentlessly pounded yam-consuming state. And I hope this bag, inspired by both, conveys some of that cultural loving to you, dear reader, and to whoever’s arm this bag may one day grace.

Love and warm wishes for a happy weekend,
Minku

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Viernes is bag day I: The Ado Weekender

Like most other designers, male or female, my love for fashion has its origins in my mum’s closet. The colours in there, and the shapes, the textures… When I started Minku in 2011, I very easily had three bags: two leather ones I’d bought for work circa 2007 (in trusty Marshalls, and rotated to death as in blue bag this week, black bag next :-) ) and one ‘street’ bag or the other. I knew little about bags. My inspiration when it came down to it was, “what would my mum like to wear? Or my sisters?”

I kept that question in my head through five collections. I would gift my mum bags and sometimes it was a hit; sometimes a miss.

The Ado Weekender is the first bag I’ve made that my mum would unequivocally love to wear.

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Ok, me too for sure, for a weekend getaway or two or a thousand. Or for a particularly busy workday, one where I need to be reminded to smile. What would I store in it? Well…

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The inside of the bag is fully lined with some seriously platinum-quality damask, and that includes the pocket on the side for storing your passport, or your cell phone for those calls before you hop on your flight. The zippers are durable metal, so there are no stories.

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The hand stitching on this bag is evident, up to 80% of the bag (including the side pocket, shown). The Ado weekender is made from cow leather, the straps are from matching sheepskin for a softer grip.

I am working on this bag in a few other colour schemes and, on popular demand, in black.

It is now available in the Minku online shop.

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Every week this Spring, I plan do something called ‘Viernes (Friday) is bag day,’ to highlight the bags in the new Minku collection. Which bag would you like to see featured next? The full list is here. I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments area :-)

Love, lots of it,Minku