Almost Sold Myself (and Uvo Bags) Short!

I’ll admit it, it’s been a loooong day already. So long that I was just skimming the lifestyle columns from today’s News & Observer. Something told me to make it to the bottom of Adrienne Johnson Martin’s article, “Designs on a new life”… so glad I did!

The article profiles local designing lady Gigi Karmous-Edwards and her recent evolution from engineer (Go Wolfpack!) to handbag and luxury accessories designer with her Raleigh, NC-based Uvo Designs line.

The idea lay dormant until January 2009, when Karmous-Edwards and Afify decided to go for it, despite each having full-time jobs. They wanted to use the highest quality materials, so they took a trip to New York and looked at unique leathers and the best hardware. “We wanted cell phone pockets, we wanted it to be big enough for work stuff, yet still be stylish,” Karmous-Edwards says. They wanted the luxury of linen for the lining, and a coating that would be like rainwear, so the bag could be wiped down. “We thought about it like engineers, but with style and function as well.”

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for this past year was to buy no more leather made goods (handbags, wallets, belts, shoes, etc.) and I’m happy to say that it has actually been no serious problem! There are so many high-quality, affordable alternatives out there that it hasn’t been as challenging as you might think. Until I read articles like this.

But like I said, I made it to the bottom of the article to find this nice note:

With orders also coming in through a new website (, Karmous-Edward and Uvo are moving forward. Her newest bag, a hobo shape with metal feet, so it can stand up, already has pre-orders, and she’s made a prototype for an iPad bag. When she heard from people who liked her bag, but don’t buy leather, she began working on an eco-friendly bag that will be made of biodegradable material and nonwoven cotton.

Yay! Thanks for thinking cruelty-free and sustainability, Ms. Karmous-Edward!

You can read the full feature on the News and Observer’s website at

Lisa Jeffries

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