This summer, our EIC spent some time hanging out with possibly the friendliest designer to grace this planet, also known as Jas Sehmbi. He is not only a leather goods designer for his label Jas MB, but also creates and distributes leather to many of the great British designers (like Kei Kagami, for starters). In addition to that, he’s a DJ, a friend of Kanye and the Beckhams, an entrepreneur, a believer of peace and freedom, and sooooo much more. So, despite the distance and weird time differences, Jas took the time to talk with us about life, fashion, music and more! See below>>>
1. So, I’m going to open with the basics – how did you get your start in fashion? And what inspired you to design bags and other leather goods?
I loved fashion from a very young age, because fashion itself is inspirational. I was an artist the age of 13, but within our culture I was not able to make ends meet, so I decided to design bags, as bags were easier to sell and make some money.
2. What, in your opinion, are the three bags that every woman needs?
A small cross body bag, a day bag, and right now – a very practical backpack.
3. What are your feelings on the man purse/murse? Do you see men carrying purses (not counting backpacks, messenger bags, etc) regularly anytime soon?
You mean the mens’ clutch bag? This is only a short term fashion thing.
4. So you’re based in London. How does the unique street style of that city inspire you? Are there any other places you’ve traveled to that really influence your designs?
London street style is my main influence on design, as London is the most inspirational city in the world.
5. For those of us on a student’s budget, what are a few key fashions (a designer bag, leather jacket, etc) you’d recommend investing in?
As a student, I would spend more money on a leather jacket, as it will almost outlast any bag.
6. You’ve dabbled with both footwear and clothing before, but do you have any plans to expand more into those in the near future?
I would love to but at the moment my budget does not allow me to do that. In the future yes yes yes would love to.
7. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? How about the best life advice?
Be above average, dress above average, and feel above average. Learn to respect every one equal and learn to give a little.
8. Which designer’s work do you admire most? Are there any artists outside of fashion that you particularly admire?
Martin Margella – but only when he used to design. And the artist J.M.W. Turner, as he made you look at his artwork with some depth.
9. Did you completely freak out when you first found out your designs would be sold at Barneys?
I did completely freak out when I found out that they had sold out of my bags within the first 7 days.
10. Who would you say is your best client? David Beckham/David Beckham’s mom, the lady with a room full of your bags, or some other mystery client?
It has to be an ex lawyer who has a room full of my bags, and she has been buying my bags for the last 12 years.
11. Let’s play a quick round of would you rather! Would you rather be forced to carry around all of your stuff in a plastic grocery bag for the rest of your life or leave the fashion industry and become an accountant?
Plastic grocery bag and carry my bills on my shoulders.
12. My favorite bags are your cow fur red tartan backpack and the notorious shotgun inspired clutch. Which of your bags is your favorite?
The most simple backpack from my new collection, as this is the way forward.
13. Where do you wish to take your company? And what’s your greatest struggle as a designer?
I would like to take my company to another level and sell to the most interesting stores in the world, As a designer, managing the staff and the financing are my greatest struggle.
14. So you obviously have a way with leather, especially the techniques you experiment with. Could you describe the best/your favorite one?
Cracked leather which ages beautifully, also manipulating the surfaces of the leather.
15. All-time favorite food? Color? Inspiration? Travel destination?
Indian ( Punjabi ) as it wakes up most of the senses in our body. Blue, as it has so much depth. Old manufacturing machinery is very inspirational. Travel to India, because it has a lot of creative hunger.
16. What’s the most amazing experience you’ve had so far as an entrepreneur/designer/DJ/cool guy?
Just being able to communicate in many languages and having the will power to speak with any one at any time has to be the most amazing experience to take with you.
17. Speaking of DJing, can you attach a track you’ve done?
I would like to recommend one track which will tell my story until I was 11 years old, and that is by Gil Scott Heron’s “On Coming From A Broken Home.” I came from a broken home.
18. Tell us an embarrassing story!
For a few hours being with Liam from Oasis (the band) and calling him Noel.
19. Though you hide it well, you have some super long locks on that head of yours. Will you ever cut your hair?
20. Lastly, if you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Either an Artist or an Architect.