Sunday, April 24, 2011

4 Questions with Tarek Al-Azbat

A little while ago, I attended the Nella Bella Fall/Winter 2011 Handbag Presentation at the Design Exchange, and had the chance to interview the brand's creative director Tarek Al-Azbat at the end of the evening. I enjoyed having a conversation with him and getting to know more about his handbag line-which has been gaining success in the Canadian market. Click on the jump to read my exclusive interview!
PP: What makes a Nella Bella bag a Nella Bella handbag?
TA: Wow. The Nella Bella bag is full of love, because it is a lot of work; very proud, wearable, affordable, and most of all it’s functional, easy to carry, and lots of detail. We really put a lot of effort into it; it’s very intimate. Intimacy is a good word to use-the silhouette and the actual shapes that we use on the bags are very now, very in, very light; what women really want. That’s what makes it really special. It is definitely durable. The bottom line is it’s a lot of me into the bags and you can see it in all of the designs. That’s what I’m proud of, really.

PP: What was your inspiration for the current collection?
TA:  I’ve always been inspired by how the interior of the cars were. The upholstery of the interior of all the vintage cars. I took that and made it into bags. It’s that simple. I just love the contrast between the fabric and the leather and I love the contrast between the textures from smooth to like pebbled surfaces. I love how that feels so I really took some of that, and I use it into the whole idea of putting all of the bags together and I use that as an inspiration and everything started coming together and becoming better and better and then it would be kind of vintage-y and at the same time very urban, very now, very chic. That’s basically what the inspiration was. The other part of this collection was inspired from the beaches. And it’s pebbled and the stones, the blacks, and the salmons. It’s all the colours that you see on the beach and shells and stuff and I use the sand as the textures and pebbled factor and I basically put it into bags.

PP: And your handbag line is vegan. Tell me about that.
TA: Vegan because it is a sea of options. That is my answer to vegan. You can have good quality, incredible fabrication that you can take from a roll and you can make incredible bags. And they’re very durable, fun and lightweight, and that’s what women want these days. They don’t want something heavy. Leather is beautiful; I’m not against the use of leather.  Its heavy and it’s very limiting. There really isn’t that much options to play with as much as vegan fabrications so basically I have tons of options that’s why I chose vegan. And it’s affordable; people love that. You can be fashionable, and you can be changing your bag every season and still love your animals.

PP: Your bags are currently in small boutiques. Will you be branching out anytime soon?
TA: That part I really can’t answer because you never know in the retail industry. We love the small boutiques. We love the moms and pops and I love to be in all of these places that are very supportive. We love them all. And again, with any history of any company, nobody can say no to bigger and different venues of sale. Right now we are very happy with all the support we get and our retail is incredible. We love them all. They’ve been supportive from day one; from 2007 till now. Sales are not predictable. You will never know.

I would like to give a special thank you to Tarek Al-Azbat for taking the time to answer my questions! I cannot wait for what's to come for Nella Bella! In the meantime, Nella Bella handbags are sold in Capezio boutiques across the GTA. Check out their official website for more on the handbag collection and where it's sold!

*Photo credits to Nella Bella*

Yours truly,

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