In a city near you, there is a bold woman – she loves upbeat music, spicy food and being herself. She studies hard, works hard, and plays hard, but when she plays, she does it fashionably. She always had a problem with other fashionistas owning the same handbag she did. She tried searching for obscure brands; she just wished she could find a bag that showcased both the stand-out that she truly is, and her unique identity…until one day, she discovered Le Gendre! She saw bright color, unexpected patterns and texture! Unlike the bags she’s seen before. Le Gendre lets her be unique – lets her express her style and reflect her identity to the world. If that bold woman is in you, then your wish has come true.
Le Gendre is an independent New York-based designer handbag brand that launched its first range of handbags in early 2015. Le Gendre is one of many brands which are increasingly realizing the potential of marketing a business online and connecting the dots of the African diaspora, through the use of social media.
The designer, Khadeidra Le Gendre, is originally from Trinidad & Tobago but has spent the majority of her adult life in New York. Khadeidra grew up with her grandparents in warm and sunny Trinidad. Imitating her grandmother Pearl, who was a well-known seamstress of small town Tacarigua, little Khadeidra began to hand-stitch dolls’ dresses out of colorful scraps of leftover cloth. As a pre-adolescent ‘seamstress’, she was adamant that each of her dolls should have a unique look. While creating these looks, Khadeidra often recited, “Oh, How I love to be just me, I’m unique, alone, and different you see – of all millions of girls in the world, there’s not one soul who could be me, I’m told…” These were the opening lines of a poem composed by her grandfather Lance, which earned little Khadeidra the winning spot of national poetry recitation competition.
After grduating from Trinidad’s all-girls Bishop Anstey High School, Khadeidra always dreamed of pursuing the business of fashion, but guided by her family, she followed a different path: she migrated to New York to join her mother, and to pursue tertiary education. She completed a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Communications at Baruch College, and a Master’s degree in Social-Organizational Psychology at Columbia University.
Fast forward to 2015: post-graduation, with considerably more spare time, Khadeidra decided to teach herself to sew. This time, using her mother’s colorful scraps of leftover cloth, she cut, pinned, stitched, ripped and re-stitched until she successfully made her first clutch. Once she learned how to construct, next she had to learn more about fabrics. Inspired by her Afro-Caribbean heritage, Khadeidra knew that her handbag line should feature a myriad of colors and textures. She researched online, and talked to experts from Brooklyn to Harlem, to as far as Abu Dhabi and Oman, to build her knowledge of the boldest authentic ankara from Western Africa. Khadeidra kept on sewing, diversifying her bag silhouettes to include bucket bags, oversized clutch bags, tribal and contemporary mixed print bags, zip top clutches, and rollover/foldover clutches. She began to share images of her work on social media, gained the attention of several Caribbean-American and African American entrepreneurs, which created opportunities to present her collection at live events. A self-proclaimed lifelong learner, Khadeidra reads for hours each week about branding and distribution. She recommends to any up-and-coming designers (or business owners) the book “Lean Branding”, by Laura Busche. Using this book, along with expert advice and the feedback of customers, Khadeidra continues to build the Le Gendre brand, in homage to her grandmother, and in remembrance of two generations of her great-grandfathers: Phillip and Henri Le Gendre, both of whom were tailors.
The Le Gendre collection of well-constructed handmade cloth handbags is priced from $30-$65. Paired with quality African printed fabric, intricate hardware and stitch detailing, each handmade piece is intended to be a stylish and versatile wardrobe staple. The African prints used are rich with multiple tones, which is what makes these bags unique as their colors easily compliment the other elements of your outfit. Le Gendre handbag styles will launch on www.legendre.storenvy.com each month, offering a wide range of handbags, tote and weekender bags, cross-body saddle bags, woven straw bags, clutches and more!
Dougla Clutch w/ pom pom fringe: Inspired by island life! “Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other”…a dougla is a nice mix. This print pairing is sure to do your wardrobe so much good! Fits your bare essentials – phone, wallet, a few cosmetics.
Bora Bora Bora clutch: Inspired by dreams of vacation. Meet your new summer go-to. Its rectangular silhouette is anything but basic in this standout ankara print and fringe detail. This one-of-a-kind clutch is big enough to fit your most basic essentials and small enough for a night out!
Zip top Dougla Clutch: Inspired by island life!
Dougla: “Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other”…a dougla is a nice mix. This print pairing is sure to do your wardrobe good! Fits your bare essentials – phone, wallet, a few cosmetics.