When art meets craft

Bespoke bag brand, Paul Adams, brings painters and craftsmen together to create the most unique artworks on leather
Anshuman Singh, founder and CEO, Paul Adams
Anshuman Singh, founder and CEO, Paul Adams

If ever there was an exceptionally unusual approach to bag-making, this is it. First, artists are asked to paint to their passion on canvas, then their handiwork is transferred on to leather. An innovative confluence of art meets craft in the truest sense; this is what makes the made-in- India bespoke bag brand, Paul Adams, a harbinger of artistic expression in everyday existence.

“We invested over three years in research and development before we launched our brand in 2017,” says Anshuman Singh, founder and CEO, Paul Adams. The snob value of each bespoke creation—spanning a rich palette of handbags, backpacks, totes, wallets and belts—lies in the fact that these are limited editions, all painted by hand. “Our aim has been to take the work of young, talented and unknown artists to the world,” he says.

Bags from the latest Paul Adams collection
Bags from the latest Paul Adams collection

“Unlike the tony international labels that have now introduced hand painting on leather, we bring in artworks on canvas, subsequently UV-treated and waterproofed (even sand-proofed in the collections launched in West Asia).” The treasured pieces, ranging from bestsellers in Orion—a retro camera case-inspired unisex bag —to Ellison, a busy commuter’s chic backpack, are popular with millennials who want more than just a prized logo on their purchase. Each of the bags carries a description of the art along with a profile of every artist, which is also available on the brand’s website.

The artists are drawn from a vast repertoire of geographical locations, including Bhadoi, Osmanabad and Mumbai. “Based on the 3D structure of a bag conceived on the computer, we invite 10 artists to articulate designs. Once the design submitted by an artist is approved, we allocate the number of bags to be painted. Each piece is manually painted, hence no two pieces are exactly the same,” he shares. The paint arsenal, including acrylic paints imported from Taiwan, is supplied to the artists and the entire process of designing and manufacturing the bag takes a month.

But the more challenging part, says Singh, is selling the artwork. “It takes ten times the effort to market it, considering that there is no culture in our country of parents taking the young to museums and cultivating an interest in art, unlike in foreign countries. However, this exposure level is changing over the years along with increasing foreign travel and enhanced social media awareness, but the interest still needs to gestate,” he says adding, “People instantly jump to the conclusion that we are selling digital prints on bags. In reality, we are selling a legacy to be treasured by generations. Each of our exclusive bags comes complete with a lifetime maintenance warranty.”

Singh claims that Paul Adams was the first to kickstart the e-paper technology based on the self-recharge of the screen and the employment of Bluetooth technology that allows the creatives to be transferred onto the bag.

“Being an expensive execution, the use of the technology on each handpainted, patented piece had to be stalled,” shares Singh, adding that plans o revive this are afoot again. Paul Adams collections are currently available online on its website with international shipping support to over 70 countries worldwide. The brand is also present at select luxury boutiques in Dubai, Mumbai and Madrid, with the next new stops planned for London, New York and Toronto. Prices range from Rs 10,000 to Rs 80,000.

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The New Indian Express