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The Evolution of THIS1 Style

by Sofroina Timmons
To incorporate a dream into a drive and turn it into reality takes guts without the glory. If you’re looking for inspiration to pursue your dreams then read below about Cindy Gelllersen's journey from communist Germany to ultimately create Bagstil hand bags, a fashion-forward company.

Open your closets to Bagstil's upscale new collection, THIS1, which features fine quality handcrafted leather that is timeless. Each bag showcases a gold-plated emblem and exudes a chockfull of luxury. Satchels, totes, cross bodies, clutches and briefs all add a touch of class to your wardrobe.

The cream-colored satin interior exquisitely features removable pockets for any mentionable and unmentionables. Another reason to give a pocket area of the bag a nick-name: the “Dirty Little Secret”, it snaps onto the inside of the bag. And if you’re wild about where your prized purchases are made, all of the bags are designed and manufactured in one of the most fashionable meccas here in the states, Los Angeles.

Explain the meaning of Bagstil.
We selected the name Bagstil because it is a combination of the English word bag and the German word for style. The name reflects the influences of my birthplace Leipzig, Germany (a place known for craftsmanship, functionality, quality) and my adopted home of Los Angeles (a place famous for being a trendsetter in so many areas, design being one of them).

How and why did BAGSTIL start and who started it?
I was born behind the Iron Curtain in Leipzig, then East Germany. My family used to watch West German TV, which was not allowed. When I saw my first fashion show the designer bug bit and all I wanted to be was a designer. But fashion design did not really exist in the East and it was officially frowned upon as being decadent. I guess you can say I got my first big break when the wall came down so the pursuit of my dream became all of a sudden realistic. It was of course still a struggle to get into the design field and make a living at the same time. To improve my odds I moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in a design school. Making ends meet was still not easy but I could feel that I was getting closer.

My persistence paid off when I was hired by a local denim brand as a designer after I completed school. I worked very hard, had a lot of fun, and gained valuable experience in the field. I also realized that I had to create my own products and develop my own brand in the future. The next big step was when my husband Lars and I founded Bagstil Inc. in 2009. My husband also has a design background (in the architectural field) combined with a business background so he understood and supported my desire to create my own products from the get-go.

Who do you envision wearing this collection?
People who really get it and totally dig it! Also people that like efficiency, convenience but are not willing to sacrifice style for it. Those will be definitely the right people!

What inspired the current collection?
I love horses and horseback riding. The ruggedness and the functionality of the hardware and the material involved in horseback riding inspired my current collection in a big way. Aesthetics, movement, and elegance are a big part of horses and horseback riding. I wanted to express that with my collection.

What are your designers doing to remain relevant and make the brand stand out?
We will continue to handcraft our products from the finest materials. We are using only solid custom hardware and Satin lining. Our bigger bags feature very unique and innovative interchangeable inside-pockets. There is usually more than one way to carry our bags, making them extremely versatile. We will keep on designing elegant, sophisticated, innovative, and highly functional lines.

We obviously think that we are among the best values in the world of handbags. We are definitely in competition with incredible lines but those are not the majority. The majority of collections seem to consist of fluff and puff, are mostly made overseas and are knock offs of somebody else’s design. In contrast, we are designing and manufacturing here in Los Angeles. This is very important to us. We can ensure superior quality control but also have US standard working conditions during manufacturing. Our products are of exceptional design and functionality, high quality, built to last in design and structure. We believe that our designs are unique and stand out from the crowd aesthetically.

What's next for Bagstil?
We are constantly working to continue to grow without losing integrity and edge! We are thriving to become an icon in the worlds of handbags!

Give us three words that best describe the brand.
Aesthetics, function, quality. Can we sneak in cool?

Where can Bagstil be purchased and what are the price points?
Online you can find us at www.bagstil.com, www.dnatheshop.com,www.ichooseamerican.com and woogiewoo.com. In stores you can see our products in West Hollywood at Fred Segal on Melrose and in Dallas at Gregory's. Our price points range from $150 to $ 850.

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