Fashion Talk: SolSak’s Georgina Agyekum
by ATFDC Contributor Barbara Collins
We see it all the time; women changing their shoes on the metro, bus, or even at their last minute coffee stop before heading to work. Wearing four-inch heels while commuting is not something we can do everyday or any day at that and having to stash our worn heels in a new designer handbag can be quite unsanitary. So ladies if you are searching for a stylish yet suitable handbag that you can carry your shoes in throughout your commute, then solSak can cater to all your needs!
Launched in the fall of 2011, solSak is a line of specialty handbags customized to carry pumps, flats, or flip flops. Originally form Georgia, designer, Georgina Agyekum “relocated from Los Angeles, California, a very car-dependent city to the District of Columbia, a metropolitan area more reliant on public transportation and walking.” She quickly realized that the women in DC and other metropolitan cities were desired the need of handbags strictly for hauling shoes. The company’s mission is to “offer women everywhere an inconspicuous pocket of convenience, one Design at a time!”
Brilliant idea ladies, right? Read on to learn more about solSak and designer, Georgia Agyekum in our All Things Fashion DC exclusive interview!
All Things Fashion DC (ATFDC): Georgina, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Georgina Agyekum (GA): I’m actually from Savannah GA, but have lived in five states (soon to be six) because of work and school. One little known fact about me is I have a doctorate in public health from UCLA which was probably another major inspiration for the solSak line… just thinking of how we walk the grimy city streets and then plop our shoes directly into our handbags, kind of gross. :p
ATFDC: I read that you moved from Los Angeles to DC. How do you like the city so far?
GA: I really like DC. It’s a smart, vibrant city filled with people who are “moving and shaking” in their respective industries and people representative of all demographics actually make time to give back to social causes and those who are less fortunate. Not something you see too often in Los Angeles.
ATFDC: What do you think about the fashion scene in DC?
GA: The fashion scene in DC is definitely emerging. If you ever take a moment to people watch downtown or anywhere around the district you will notice that women are starting to push fashion limits even in the corporate arena. Black, grey and brown are no longer your every day standard. This summer women wore neon, floral prints, and even color-blocked on their j.o.b. The scene is really coming along.
ATFDC: How did you come up with the name solSak?
GA: solSak is kind of a play on words. Sole- as in the bottom of your shoe and of course Sak- as in bag, sack.
ATFDC: Your handbags are quite unique! They feature an interior compartment for shoes. How did you come with this idea?
GA: This idea was actually inspired by my daily commute to work via Gallery Place China Town. Oftentimes I would have after work events that called for the wearing of a nice heel but there was no way I could walk around all day without my trusty flats. So without recourse, I used to wrap my shoes in a plastic grocery back and shove them in my purse. Then I noticed that most, if not all of my peers were doing the exact same thing. Before long, this frustrated me to the point that I was determined to come up with a better solution.
ATFDC: How involved are you in the design process?
GA: Very. I actually designed the bags and researched a manufacturer in New York who could help me carry out the vision.
ATFDC: What inspires you when you are designing?
GA: My daily experiences. Women juggle so many responsibilities; therefore I look for ways to optimize being practical and ways to simplify one’s life while still remaining fashionable. I refer to my line as being fashionably functional.
ATFDC: Why do you think your bags are so important for women who commute or live in big cities?
GA: These bags are important for women who commute or live in big cities because they make one’s life so much more convenient. When you go to that networking or after work event, you no longer have to be “that girl” walking barefoot to the car. We’ve all seen “her”. Nor do you have to look like the bag lady toting along your latest conference bag or reusable grocery bag everywhere you go in order to carry your shoes. And for nothing else, solSak is a sanitary alternative then putting grimy shoes in your purse along with makeup and other handbag items.
ATFDC: Who are some of your favorite handbag designers?
GA: I really have a lot of respect for independent designers, particularly those in the US women like Yiliy (House of Yiliy), Sukari NY, and Kua Design. I applaud these and others because designing and producing bags domestically is certainly not an easy task by any means. Not to mention, it is quite costly, but these women make the sacrifice and do it so graciously because it is their passion.
ATFDC: Is your main focus just on handbags for shoes or will you make handbags for everyday purposes?
GA: Right now the focus is on shoes; but we definitely intend on branching out to make bags that are multifunctional which is part of our mission. We figure with everything else evolving around us for the sake of convenience, isn’t it about time our accessories did too? Women want handbags that look good, but also keep up with the pace of their busy lives.
ATFDC: When can we expect the Senior Satchel?
GA: That’s a secret! People will have to stay connected on twitter – @GalleryPlaceDes or FB www.facebook.com/GalleryPlaceDesigns to find out!
ATFDC: What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?
GA: Transitioning from Doctorate to Designer and still being able to devote time to things that are most important to me!
ATFDC: What future goals do you have for solSak?
GA: Our motto is to offer women an inconspicuous pocket of convenience on Design at a time; therefore we’re starting with designs that accommodate shoes but will eventually branch out to various styles and colors with designated compartments that hold even more (such as lunch, umbrellas, etc). We feel like the commuting metropolitan woman is part of a niche market that has been totally overlooked for so long.
ATFDC: How can our ATFDC readers purchase one of your bags and stay connected?
Barbara is a sophomore at Old Dominion University, majoring in International Studies with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. She also writes for CocoKouture Magazine and would love to pursue a career in the fashion industry as a writer for a top fashion magazine