Everybody’s style is defined by the start of a new season. It’s the ideal time to bring warmth into your wardrobe, whether looking for new pieces or digging out old spring staples. A new pair of sunglasses or a new denim jacket will make any spring outfit more stylish. However, just as the boot symbolises fall, accessories such as a good bag and designers like Lara Olutunbi from LarAllan can make spring look even more exciting.
This brand, based in the UK, was launched in 2019. It is known for its iconic acrylic bags that feature empowering images of women from different cultures. LarAllan bags are known for their bright colours and luxe elements. They have also been seen as streetwear stars and red carpet goers. Olutunbi had bags for all occasions, including classic designs for work and errands and decorated clutches for parties. LarAllan bags are a firm favourite because of the messages behind them. Each design by Olutunbi celebrates all women’s beauty and diversity, which resonates with shoppers worldwide.
We spoke with the Nigerian-born designer about her brand and how she came up with the idea to spotlight women uniquely and artistically.
How did accessory design get started?
Although I had always wanted to be a fashion designer, I discovered that accessory design was something I could do. I started designing for women like myself. It took me a while to find the perfect clutch bag at an affordable price that was still high-quality. The real aha moment occurred when I looked for a clutch to carry to my cousin’s wedding.
What inspires your illustrations?
I am committed to celebrating women, their social and cultural achievements, milestones and strength. Girls must-see images highlighting women like themselves, and that luxury can also be associated with culture. I use bold colours, bold jewel tones, and gold hardware to add richness to my bags.
Book bags were a delight for me as an avid reader. Could you please explain the meaning of these bags and the infamous ‘Ade’ bag?
I treasure the book clutches from the Wonderland Collection. Each bag is named after one of my nieces. It’s my way of telling them they are smart, beautiful, and valuable. Nigeria inspires the Ade design. Ade is Yoruba for royalty. It tells the story of a typical Nigerian woman who loves fashion. Nigerians love to party, so I created the ultimate party bag.
Another LarAllan design that social media users love is the Shero Tote. Could you please tell me more about the inspiration behind this bag?
Shero honours all women from all cultures who do their best and push past the obstacles they face. The large tote bag was chosen to highlight the stories of these women. This bag is a conversation piece as well as a statement item. This bag was designed to be an everyday bag that is stylish and fun for running errands.
Each bag’s name is unique. How do you name them?
It all depends on the story we are telling or what we are celebrating. The Faith and Hope bags are two examples of autobiographical names. These are my labour of love, representing why I continue to work hard to build a brand. To represent the sisterhood of Black and Asian women, I chose Kiki to Aiko. Jamilah is a celebration of the Middle Eastern woman, with a nod towards the Vote To Drive movement.