Naiise Conversations With Aide de Camp's Founder, Michele
Calling all women photographers, here's a bag that fits all your camera gear comfortably while looking stylish enough to take to functions, dinners and more. Naiise meets the woman behind Aide de Camp, and finds out more about her design philosophy, how the brand started and what an Aide de Camp woman is like.
1) Tell us more about yourself, and how did ADC come about?
I am someone who loves objects that make life easier and more beautiful, founder of Aide de Camp (ADC), a proud wife and a soon-to-be mother. I explored the world of marketing, fashion design, freelance make-up artistry, craft and DIY blogging at micheleng.com before starting up ADC.
I started designing Aide de Camp’s first collection of stylish and practical camera bags because there weren’t any options that I liked specifically for female photographers two years ago. Even today, most camera bag options on the market are too sporty-looking with insufficient room for my personal items, or just too heavy and hard to match with my outfits for dressy events or nights out.
I realized I was not alone when I had other female photographer friends who were wrapping their cameras in scarves in their regular handbags, carrying their gear in paper bags or ones who had to carry two separate bags when travelling. Hence I set out to create a carrying solution that was both stylish and functional at the same time.
2) We love your bags as they strike a great balance between function and form. Can you describe your signature style of design?
While I don’t think I have a signature style per se, I would say that my aesthetic tends towards clean and classic looks that would complement any woman’s outfit. For Aide de Camp’s first collection, “the little black dress of camera bags”, I wanted to create various silhouettes that would appeal to different personalities so that every female photographer would be able to find a style that appealed to them.
3) Who is the ADC woman?
The ADC woman is a modern day female who wants to experience and enjoy life to the fullest. She believes in exuding her personal style and dressing well for every occasion, but treasures a fuss-free way of doing so.
4) Any plans to design stylish camera bags for men one day?
Yes, definitely! We actually have been getting many requests from male photographers and have some prototypes in the works but we will have to balance it with the growth of our female line too.
5) Which designers inspire you most?
I don’t really have a specific list of favourite designers because every designer inspires me in a different way. From the beautiful couture ways of Elie Saab, to the fun styles of Marc Jacobs, I find that every designer brings something new and refreshing to the table. Even more so when we learn about their journey to becoming who they are today.
6) Describe a day of being at ADC?
Hectic but full of learning! As a new start-up, we have to deal with everything personally. At the beginning, daily work revolved around settling quality issues during manufacturing, importing, warehousing, logistics and packing (every bag is individually checked and wrapped). Now, daily tasks include marketing, public relations, fulfillment, accounting, designing and developing future prototypes and the list goes on.
7) What is it like being a designer in Singapore?
Being a designer in Singapore has its pros and cons but it is still great overall. On one hand, it’s small and easier to get connected to relevant parties and partners in the industry. On the other hand, the market size is not that large for the niche category that ADC is in and in order to grow we have to look beyond our borders. Manufacturing capabilities for bags are also limited and I’ve had to fly overseas constantly to search for the right raw material and manufacturers. That said, being exposed to overseas markets and manufacturers has made me grow in many ways at the same time.
8) Why is design important to you?
Design, in terms of great style and innovative functions, is an integral part of everyday living. It not only makes life more beautiful, it also makes it easier and allows us to spend more time on what we really want to be doing.
9) What can we look forward to from ADC in 2014?
While we continue to grow Aide de Camp as a brand, we are working to introduce more colours and additional camera handbag styles (including some fun designs and collaborations with photographers). We are also toying with the idea of a mens range and other product lines such as laptop bags that are stylish and practical.
10) Any tips for naiise living?
Stay true to who you are but don’t be afraid to take risks once in a while and be open to new inspiration and ideas!