For ten months I craved a “Victoria Sling.” Friends who know me could just shrug their shoulders and quip, “Just go make that cocktail if you want it so badly.” While the Victoria Sling does indeed sound like a divine mixture to be imbibed as a tribute to Masterpiece’s smash hit Victoria (that some of us just couldn’t get enough of), but no, this Victoria Sling is a wonderful mixture of style and leather. It’s a bag and the one I craved was in Merlot. Oh, and I did get what I craved for last December.
Of all the bags I own, I never had a shape quite like this one or in Merlot. My bag was designed and fabricated in Kansas City by Ami Beck of Dolyn Bags. I had the pleasure of meeting this talented designer about a year ago and knew some of her story, but I decided it was time to learn more.
On a bright sunny March day last week, I drove up to Ami’s studio in the Kansas City West Bottoms to see her latest designs and find out about her newest ventures. Through our conversation, I was able to glean more about Ami’s early inspirations, current thoughts about becoming a designer and her aspirations for the future of Dolyn Bags.
Ami is very striking and beautiful. You would first think that she was a model turned designer, but nothing could be further from the real story. Ami had a typical Midwestern childhood focusing on choir and basketball. In college she pursued psychology and armed with a degree, went for a career in the mental health community.
That creative bug has a way of infecting us all and it hit Ami big time. After beginning her career, she started creating jewelry and accessories in her free time and found that she was just too passionate about this creative thing to just leave it as a hobby. Ami quit her day job and enrolled in Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. Once in design school, Ami found that the luxurious nature and statement making power of bags was where she wanted to go and after graduation she started Dolyn Bags. Dolyn is taken from Ami’s favorite name, Gwendolyn, and as they say,”the rest is history.” Kansas City’s design community has a rising star in its mist.
Ami’s first designs were women’s bags. Dolyn Bags will always have women’s bags, but her true dream is in luggage and travel design and she is especially excited about her men’s line. Some parts of the line are still being perfected, but all aspects of this experience have been exciting.
The men’s line is fabricated in a factory in New York (still made in the USA!) and this will let Dolyn Bags take larger orders and creates the opportunity for the brand to be in a larger market. Just this February, she took a giant leap in that direction by showing at the Magic trade show in Los Vegas. Although New York will make her men’s line, Ami will still handmake all her women’s bags in her Kansas City studio.
One of the questions I asked Ami was what were the largest surprises she had since creating her company. Ami’s answer didn’t surprise me in that it all has been a surprise from how hard it has been, to how exciting it has been, and especially, the huge support she has received. Support of Ami was happening the moment we wrapped up our interview. Fashion Group International (of which I am a member) was having the monthly meeting at Ami’s studio. FGI is a large and varied group representative of many facets of the design field, from designers, teachers, media, and students.
So much to see – so a small collage of just a few things that caught our eyes (my daughter Rachelle was there too). What I realized going though our shots was that as much as I love sewing, I didn’t manage to get one picture of her sewing machines!
You caught me, sitting down at the job, but it’s time to talk about what I chose to wear for the night.
My Dolan Victoria Sling in Merlot called the shots for this look. Burgundy and navy have a natural symbiosis. I picked a pair of loafer styled flats by Rockport to keep in the color theme. I liked the marriage between casual and dressiness that they have.
The Madewell jeans have made their um-teenth appearance on here and I added more burgundy with a merino Pendleton turtleneck. The jacket is by Rebecca Minkoff from about two seasons ago. I was attracted to its unique cut, the color blocking and the grosgrain ribbon embellishment. It also added some neutral that I wanted.
Where would I be without a little vintage? This time it’s a Bill Blass silk scarf that was in a four scarf deal on eBay. The other silk scarfs that came with it were by Vera, Echo and Elaine Gold. The Blass scarf was my least favorite of the group, but with its use of color, I wasn’t surprised that it was the first of the bunch I wore. I think I need a steady visual diet of silk scarfs!
Finally, the last detail I am going to point out is what is on my finger. This is a ring from Cheryl Eve Acosta Mer de Verre collection.
Do you want to connect with Ami and Dolyn Bag? If so, here are some ways to do it:
It seems I have this post in the bag (sorry, bad pun, but just couldn’t resist) and this wraps up my visit with Ami and Dolyn Bags. So until next week-take care and Happy Styling!
Rachelle Gardner-Roe gets credit for all photos for today’s article.
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