Thinking out of the bag

Slinging a handbag over the shoulder is as much a part of a woman’s daily routine as slipping on underwear first thing in the morning. While some women rely on one trusty all-purpose bag, which eagerly waits on the entrance hall chair like a loyal puppy, ready to be whipped off every morning for a day of schlepping, pulling and containing, other women have a handbag for every mood, whim and outfit, neatly wrapped in tissue paper in the depths of their cupboard. For the latter, choosing a handbag to see them through the day is a ritual that is thoughtful and strategic, one conducted in an attempt to add the final touch to their outfit- to complete the picture of themselves that they want to show to the world that day.

*Mighty* is a range of bags that not only fulfils both of these purposes but does so in an innovative and conceptual way that the wearer cannot help but reflect, ‘now why didn’t I think of that?’

Designed by Casey Van Embden, previously an art director in the advertising industry, *Mighty*’s four current prototypes are clear indications of the out-of-the-box thinking and creative currency this young designer draws on in the creation of this range. “These bags are dual purpose, first and foremost they are all functional but not in a conventional and obvious way; and secondly they have been designed to be the key-focus, not an accessory- like a great pair of jeans or statement shirt, the rest of the outfit is put together around it.” With names like; Here I Am, The Coi, Pur-sue, and Handle Me, you can be sure that their function and purpose are just as intriguing as they are appropriate.

Here I Am- It all began with this bag- an idea that Casey had been toying with for a long time due to the frustration of not being able to find anything in her handbag. “Everyday I would look into my bag frustrated as I could never find what I was looking for although I knew it was there, “she says. And so came the idea of compartmentalising a handbag, as you open it up there are various sections- created by removable panels- that keep everything in it’s place. “Camera bags were my inspiration for this prototype, after seeing professional photographers whip open their bags with every attachment, tool and appendage all displayed in front of them in various compartments.” The name says it all, Here I Am, and its functionality aside, the combination of colours, sheepskin leathers, canvas and patterned materials all make for a beautiful statement bag.

Pur-sue- This is another bag/ purse where function and form are stitched into every seam and panel. “The idea for this purse came to me as a result of going to many formal events. I always found that the clutch or purse that best matched my outfit never had enough space for the essentials- make up, cash, credit card, keys and cellphone. And if it did all the contents would get mixed up together with a slick of lip-gloss coating everything.” The Pur-sue purse is like a big wallet, with pockets inside for credit cards and money as well as larger compartments for other basics. This sexy ‘little-big’ purse is made from the softest of sheepskins and its function and sleek look both vie for the spotlight.
Handle Me- This bag has been designed with the creatively stylish woman in mind, who also appreciates the functionality of fashion items like the handbag. The handles of these sheepskin leather bags are other wardrobe staples, like scarf’s and belts, which means they provide the opportunity for women to get creative with how they are used. “With Handle Me the options are endless; you can thread a scarf or pashmina through the two side loops and then wrap it around yourself. Alternatively a great belt could be threaded through and worn around your waist.”

The Coi- Fashionistas this one’s for you! The look of The Coi is reminiscent of a Japanese Geisha’s fan. Fitting snugly around the arm and shoulder joint, the circular design has a small pouch that sits in the underarm area and the top semi-circle extends upwards to look like a fan. “Describing this bag is really complicated; you have to see it to understand how edgy a fashion statement it makes. I took the shoulders as a starting point as it is a trend that is everywhere at the moment. The fact that it covers the profile of the wearer’s face, leaving the eyes exposed, reminds me of the coy quality evoked by geishas- hence the name.”

And speaking of names, if you were wondering about the use of the word *Mighty* as a brand name, Casey explains it as follows: “It is such a feminine and fun sounding word but has a serious and powerful connotation. I love the combination of these different descriptions that the word, ‘mighty’, evokes. It is a combination that I aim to espouse and hope that these handbags do to.”

Whether you feel ‘coy’ ‘ready to pursue’ or that you ‘want to be handled’, nothing says ‘here I am’ better than a *Mighty* bag!

Note: Mighty handbags are manufactured in India where Casey lives. All materials are sourced in Delhi.

For more information please contact Casey Van Embden on *082 414 8422* or email her at