Q+A: Jarah Stoop.

August 13, 2009
While Omar Kashoura’s AW09 collection was astounding in its own right, the addition of accessories designer Jarah Stoop‘s range of buttery bags in lavender and custard transformed something top-notch into a phenomenon truly stellar. I had a brief e-natter with the woman herself…

1. Of all the schools of design what drew you to accessories and more
specifically, bags for men?

During my study of Product Design at the Academy of Art and Design in
Arnhem, The Netherlands, I designed everything from furniture to
ceramics to lighting. I was always drawn to designing products made
from fabric and leather. I discovered that when I start to visualize
my designs I think in pattern pieces rather than solid shapes. I love
the fact that bags are worn close to the body, but the shape is not
necessarily determined by the body or comfort, accessories can be more
autonomous in a way. During my studies I developed a bold style of
design, making use of high quality materials in combination with lots
of detailing. At first I designed for women, it never even crossed my
mind to design for men. After some time I realized my style was more
masculine. Therefore, I wanted to explore this more during my MA study
at the Royal College of Art where I specialized in Fashion Menswear
Accessories. When I started to design for men I felt more free to
design, I love exploring the boundaries of menswear.

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^ For Omar Kashoura AW09

2. What inspired your SS09 collection “City Excitement”, and how was
the experience of producing a full collection?

I am in love with London and with travelling. My City Excitement
, was a range of luxurious travel goods for men, inspired by
urban life, it celebrated the commotion and excitement people
experience in a cosmopolitan city. Producing a full collection was
very exciting. In this collection I made use of several different
materials such as wood, metal, plastic and the usual leather and
fabric. At times it was very nerve-wracking to get everything
together, especially when you are relying on other people to produce
components. When it finally comes together you forget all the stress
and just enjoy it, thankfully! (This collection can be seen at the
Future Fashion Now exhibition at the V&A in

3. Your collaborative work with menswear designer Omar Kashoura has
received great praise from the industry (and a legion of bloggers!).
Can you tell us more about this collaboration process?

Omar Kashoura contacted me last year, he had seen my work at the
exhibition where he was collecting an award from the Deutsche Bank
earlier that year. His use of colours, strong shapes and silhouettes
were really inspiring, so I knew I wanted to collaborate with Omar.
When we have our design meetings we jump from one idea to the other,
it’s an energetic and inspiring process. With Omar I have been to
Paris twice, presented at the Arabic Fashion World and there are more
exciting events to come. We have worked on two seasons and already I
am looking forward to the next.


^ City Excitement SS09

4. Do you have a particular muse/source of inspiration that feeds your

I am inspired by numerous things, I love watching people on public
transport for instance. They way they behave, and the way they use and
sometimes flaunt their accessories, it intrigues me. I am obsessed by
detailing. The past three years I have been researching traditional
leather techniques, I am fascinated by what you can do with leather,
moulding/polishing, it keeps surprising me. To be more specific about
my inspiration; at the moment frames and grids are floating through my
head, bold graphic shapes with a hint of humor.

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^ Bower Roebuc Project

. What are your views on men’s attitude towards accessories today? Do
you feel they wear them well? What do you think of the “murse/mlutch” trend?

I feel (straight) men have realized they need bags and accessories
too. Every man has a laptop bag and once things are functional men are
not afraid to use it, so why not have a nice one?
The shape of a bag is determined by what we carry in it, therefore the
sleek aesthetic of laptops dominate men’s bags. It is a small step from
laptop case to mlutch to murse…I quite like this trend, but not all
men can pull it off.

6. What are your plans for the future?

I am currently in the process of moving my studio from a town in The
Netherlands to a small shop the centre of Amsterdam. I am sharing the
space with an artists initatief, whom will be making installations and
exhibitions, which promises to be good fun. Also my friend
who just graduated from the Royal College of Art in London as
a footwear designer is moving to Amsterdam. Once we are settled we
will be doing a project together. I am really enjoying the
collaborations… and I also have my own collection that I am working on
at the moment, for me this is ideal.

Where can we buy your designs?

I am working on finding venues to sell my bags, for now they are
available through my
website soon from my new studio/shop at Czaar
Peterstraat 132 huis, Amsterdam and the collaboration pieces are also
available through Omar Kashoura. At the moment I have a small window
display in Canary Wharf’s exhibition space, where you can check out my
‘Strapping’ bag in real life

Much thanks to Jarah.