Sewing an apron in her high school home economics class wasn’t something Jacqueline Adamany thought would come in handy later in life. But after making skirts and even a prom dress for her daughter, Adamany finished her first handbag.
It didn’t just stop with one. After receiving praise for her bold designs and strong, sharp lines, Adamany decided to give her hobby a go as a business.
“I don’t like slouchy bags. I like a more structured bag that’s got a little shape to it, a little body,” she explains. “I like the squareness.”
Adamany’s Blue Orchid line (so named because she loves rare specimens, like a blue variety of her favorite flower, the orchid) includes shoulder bags, clutches and upcoming evening bags, all embracing her love for squares and structure.
Her signature Meredith bag, with its pressed bottom and side seams, echoes the lines of the sturdy handles, while the Chloe shoulder bag combines a slightly slouchy crescent shape with knife pleats along the open edge. But the prints Adamany, 49, chooses for her bags — many are Asian-inspired with cherry blossoms or lighter floral colors — soften and contrast their precise edges.
The bags are cut, pieced and sewn by hand at her studio inside her Parma home (with the help of Adamany’s family and friends), and each has a bit of flair from an added tassel, button or string of beads and a combination of surprising colors and patterns.
“I try to keep it to five [bags] at a time because after that, it gets out of hand,” she says. “I can’t work too much in an assembly line because sometimes one bag takes all my time.”
One clutch, still in production, pairs a nearly pastel print of gray skulls and pink roses against an off-white background.
But it’s Adamany’s fabric of choice, cotton, that gives her bags their fun look. She explains that it offers a multitude of color and pattern choices. Cotton’s role in each bag is more than superficial, though.
“It works with the structure of the bag better,” she says. “You can’t get the lines, those edges, that sharpness with softer fabrics.”