There’s a magnetic pull that that happens between the perfect handbag and a girl. Or guy, for that matter; saucy modes of transportation for your tube of lipstick aren't exclusive to the lady-folk. Lucky for those on the lookout, KiNGFLY bags don't have to work all that hard to catch your eye. Shapely newness, check. Effortless vibe, indeed. Quality leather and liner pattern, lemme get my things in there!
When I first saw a KiNGFLY bag, I knew I wanted one. As it often goes, the founder and the bags share plenty in common. Rachel Pepper is every bit as charming, original, sleek, timeless, and stylish as her unique line. Originally from Georgia, this spicy Southern gal breezed through Utah a few years back to help a friend, met our state’s most eligible bachelor, fell in love, and stayed. She continued to expand KiNGFLY by selling her handmade bags at trunk shows and online. Now, for both your pleasure and mine, they can be found at her Etsy shop online or at Farasha Boutique on Park City’s Main Street. On a recent snowy afternoon, Rachel let me swing by her modest production studio [apartment] to chat about design, love, making a living, and the future for R Pepper...
Where and when did your design career begin? I have always been a maker. I grew up with a mom and grandmother that sewed everything, even my Barbie clothes. My mom taught me at a very early age how to sew. The interest in sewing grew a love for textiles and the realization that there weren't great ones out there so I started looking into textile design; I went to school to study textile design and am now making a career out of creating and sewing.
Why do you like working with textiles? I love textiles because they are something every culture uses for so many different things. On our walls, beds, bodies, cars – textiles are everywhere. When you walk into a room, a textile is what you notice or if you pass by someone and their outfit catches your eye, it most likely from the textile they are wearing. I like creating because I was born to do it! I don't know anything different, it is what makes me tick and it is how my brain processes things.
What is KiNGFLY? KiNGFLY mimics the way I look at fashion for myself. The bags are one of a kind pieces that mix really nice leather with simple fabrics or colors and combinations that may seem a little off, but they make sense when you see them together. The bags are statement pieces without being too loud. It doesn’t have to be bright orange patent leather to stop somebody’s eye from across the room. The shape alone stops people then they look inside and see a hint of a metallic reptile print fabric and they are even more captivated. These days people don't want to all look the same. Gone are the days that everyone wants to look alike.
What is unique about a KiNGFLY purse? The shape is what initially gets people whether they like or understand it or not. Then once they engage with the bag the way the fabrics and leather are paired together really stand out. I think my strong suit is finding things that may not match but they "go together" and putting them together in a way that POPS. They are comfortable, attractive, sophisticated, and simple. There aren't bells and whistles and they are TIMELESS. They aren't last season or next season - they transfer season to season with out anyone realizing what season it's from.
How do you approach fashion personally? What are you attracted to in regard to clothes/accessories - do you like to shop? I do not like to shop, actually. When I try to shop I never find anything. I like to stumble upon pieces and snatch them up when I find them. I am attracted to things that aren't produced by the millions and things that are a little "off.” I like to call it high fashion pattern matching. I never want to go somewhere and look like anyone else. I pull a little flavor from here and there. I would never walk into a store and buy an entire outfit; I would buy $200 pants and wear it with a $2 shirt.
What is the future for Rachel Pepper? Rachel Pepper is moving and shaking. There are a lot of things going on with the brand. We are working on new branding, launching from KiNGFLYdesign to R Pepper, working on some fun collaborations and really trying to grow and evolve naturally. I am working on letting people in so I can grow and not sit at a sewing machine ALL DAY every day because right now each bag is hand cut with scissors and sewn by myself! As for the textiles, I will just keep collecting them. I could have a storage unit dedicated to fabric. It kind of makes me want to dabble in interior design. The most important thing to me about this brand is that we remember where we came from. I always want to make sure I have at least one friend that can afford my bags, haha.