South Africa hasn’t had an impact on the luxury handbag or luxury bag market, that is until now. Eastern Cape-born designer Inga Gubeka decided to change that by creating a brand that he felt was needed in the local market. Motivated by a strong passion to help others and make a difference while still aiming for success, part of Gubeka’s vision is to see more local brands thrive and grow.
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He chatted to The Citizen about his designer label Ingaatelier which is currently making waves in the luxury designer bags business.
Q: Where are you from?
I was born in a place called Engqeleni in the Eastern Cape. When I was 14, I moved to Durban where I attended high school.
Q: What inspired you to get into the luxury bag design industry?
The fact that we South Africans don’t have a luxury leather goods brand with the quality and workmanship of those made in Italy and France. I felt like it’s time for local leather goods brands to compete on a global scale, but that’s all in due time.
Q: Where did it start? Do you work alone?
It started with me and my assistant in 2018. From there we grew to a staff contingent of 15. We also moved to bigger factory space and bought more machinery. Currently, we have a good business structure which consists of a business developer, bookkeeper, artisans and myself as a creative director.
Q: What materials or textiles are the key elements of your bag designs?
Leather and canvas are the key elements of our design and production of our bags, with touches of trims from Italy and leather sourced from Ethiopia and Italy.
Q: Are your bags very stylish and what elements make them functional?
Everything about our bags is functional. We have bags suitable for everyday use and stylish bags suitable for special occasions.
Q: Can you tell me about the different styles?
We have laptop bags, duffel bags suitable for travelling, backpacks suitable for everyday working Pearson, we also have handbags suitable for everyday style and going out.