Guest Blog: Bag Trends Through the Decades with Kiki Kitty

Joining us on this month’s blog, is Kiki Kitty, JUKI Designer Ambassador, and well-known Fashion Designer. Kiki joins us by giving a view into her thoughts on bag trends through the decades! From the 80s to today, where looks have come and gone, follow along as she shares her thoughts on how bag styles have transformed over time.

Designs by Kiki Kitty

There are certain trends that will always remain classic due to their root of it. When a particular style becomes synonymous with a certain era we will always reminisce about it, so its return is inevitable. Style trends vary from city to city, even from hood to hood. You could tell where someone was from based on their style choices. The artists who create & rock dope style bring the flavor of their neighborhoods onto global platforms, thus influencing the style of those around the world. This is street style. This is culture.

Getting nostalgic about my bag choices through the decades I think about the world around me and what influenced me from a teen in the 80s to today.

The 80’s

Designs by Kiki Kitty

The 80s were a time in desperate need of artistic exploration and expression. Hip hop was in its infancy and brought about my first opportunity to see the style from city to city every week on Soul Train, Video Soul, Yo MTV Raps.

Dapper Dan gave us Logo Mania by taking materials from bags and creating custom jackets. We began to find new ways of inventing and upcycling. Anything to show off our personality and originality. But whatever you wore, having a giant designer was a must. It was so huge, that it wasn’t an accessory. It was part of the outfit.

The 90’s

Designs by Kiki Kitty

In the 90s, when I left Atlanta to begin my life as an NYC fashion designer. Andre Harrell introduced us to “Ghetto Fabulous”. This movement took ownership of the style trends we created in our everyday life and screamed it from the rooftops. Our favorite rap stars may have been shouting about the brands they wore but be clear, it was the artists themselves, the stylists, the team who altered those garments, added their originality to them and turned them into something entirely new that would influence generations of creators.

This movement brought about the rise of urban fashion. Looks we no longer had to alter to fit our dope style needs. What was once “Dungarees” that were the easiest to rip apart, remix, and put back together was now ripped denim, studded, painted, and patchworked available right from the rack. I remember looking through The Source Magazine and seeing this denim saddle bag. It’s no shock that a bag with those unique curves would be such a huge hit amongst a generation of originators.

The 2000’s

Designs by Kiki Kitty

By 2000 we all had “Carrie Fever” as Jay z rhymed in ’03 Bonnie & Clyde. Patricia Fields whose iconic 8th St shop offered a space for just dope style. Period. It was always less about the designer and more about giving us the vibe and the energy of the city, from the rappers to the club kids and beyond. Luckily for the rest of the world, ‘Sex n the City’ episodes brought the mashup of New York Street Style to everyone’s living rooms. Even if you weren’t a music lover or style hunter you were getting these trends!

The 2000s were all about that Aliyah belly button, that boyfriend style mix with the feminine baby tee, and that pop color pump. The perfect bag had to be small enough to not distract from the belly button ring but large enough for your 2-way pager. It was also the perfect way to add more color to your look, even adding a charm or 2 if you deemed it necessary to make the look more your own.

The 2010’s

Designs by Kiki Kitty

Before Insta-minute-to-minute fashion was available we counted on the “Us Weekly’s” to give us weekly updates on what all our favorite celebrities were wearing. Sure, my monthly fashion fix subscriptions remain something to anticipate, but these weekly tabloid mags brought us news of everyday style. Along with this came the rise of celebrity fashion couples and thus began my obsession with Kanye & Amber Rose.

Tracking Amber Rose and other fashionable tastemakers’ everyday styles offered us more bag trends than a typical fashion editorial would offer. So the possibilities became endless!! As a woman on the go, my go-to choice was the mini backpack. I could still get the trendy prints and the femininity of a purse but I could also carry my flats for a long day of running around the fashion district or hold my passport and travel necessities for a flight. The best of both worlds!

Today

Designs by Kiki Kitty

Girl on the go. 42% of small businesses are owned by Women. That, within itself, is a trend that grows year after year. All 12.3 million of us are busier than ever! With so much to manage all we really need in our bag is our phone and lipstick. The secret to not leaving your bag at that last investor meeting is… lean in, I’ll whisper it to you… cross shoulder bags! Why haven’t we done this all along!!! Even fanny packs are worn across the shoulder. Small is in and just like small business owners, great things come in small packages.

The bags we carry are very personal, it keeps what’s valuable to us safe, and it comes with us to more places than anything else in our wardrobe. Your bag is your shoe’s bestie, the thing that can make or break a whole outfit. When deciding what bag to rock; designer, vintage, or DIY, remember that trends come and go, style is what counts!

Written by: Kiki Kitty, JUKI Designer Ambassador

JUKI Designer Ambassador: Kiki Kitty

Introducing Kiki Kitty, owner, and designer of K. Milele, as one of our new JUKI Designer Ambassadors! A member of the fashion industry since the ’90s, where she started off with FUBU’s womenswear, Kiki Kitty is a force to be reckoned with.

One of five siblings, Kiki grew up in a home where she and her family would focus on creating everyday items to stay entertained. Creating projects like ragdolls, pillows, and slippers, she was inspired by her mother, who found art in everything. Taught by her mother, Kiki would create using natural pieces like pinecones and other found items to create projects like home décor whenever inspiration struck. Through these small projects that Kiki learned how to build her creative eye, assisting her for years to come when it was time for her to design fashion.

Finding sewing as another art medium, her first lesson was thanks to her mother. A fun activity for her and her siblings, Kiki would complete little projects to train herself on the machine and work her way up on project size and complexity. One of her favorite parts about sewing has been the freedom to explore new techniques and concepts. Through her excitement to learn, she sees each mistake as an opportunity to learn something new.

“I love when a mistake turns into the greatest thing about a garment because it forced me to have to look at it in a new way.”

Kiki’s love for the hobby has grown, leading her into the fashion industry in the ’90s as a designer for FUBU, a women’s streetwear fashion line. Motivated by her need to artistically express herself, she finds the process to be therapeutic. Seeing this as a way to express her thoughts was her first step in learning to express herself. “It took me a very long time to find my voice, to verbally express myself, and to stand up for myself. Expression through art was always my outlet. And even now that I’ve discovered my voice, creating remains to be my most powerful expression.”

While her time at FUBU led to her first brand K.A.Kitties, a venture she’s proud and fond of, her most tremendous success was only recently accomplished in her latest fashion collection K.Milele, “This is My Protest.” Using her JUKI machines, our MO-20000QVP, and HZL-NX7, she states she was finally able to create a collection that is 100% her self-expression. With the opportunity to explore prints, patterns, and textures, she hopes to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces representing her and those she designs for.

Her newest collection has trends like gathering, a favorite of Kiki’s since the ’90s. Loving how the final product looks, she finds it’s a simple technique that elevates the simple styles into sexy numbers, something her line embodies. Loving anything that creates fabric manipulation is her favorite trend in sewing. A must-have tool she keeps on hand for these projects is her tweezers. Allowing her told the fabric in place and keeping her fingers away from the machine after one terrible accident in her time at Pratt University when she first began sewing on industrial machines, she finds this tool to be a finger saver.

From FUBU to her current collection, Kiki’s journey in sewing is far from over. We hope you enjoyed getting to know our ambassador today and that you keep up with her future projects! Kiki’s new collection can be found on her socials here, and we’re so excited to see her projects come to life! Kiki’s final note to you JUKI lovers is this, “When you’re trying it [sewing] out, don’t get frustrated about making mistakes. Often mistakes make way for the opportunity to be creative and discover that there’s more than one way to achieve a great outcome. Even if it’s not the idea, you started with. Be flexible. See the beauty in what’s in front of you.”