Inside Made of Carpet – An Interview with Irina Bragin

Irina Bragin is the founder and owner of designer handbag company Made of Carpet. These beautifully unique and quirky bags are quite literally, made of carpet! Irina talks to me about the company..

Hi, I’m Eboni from EBONI + IVORY, a fashion, lifestyle and travel blog. I am excited to share with you my first guest post for My Favourite Sale. I’m sure you will enjoy this post, Irina is a fascinating woman with an exciting brand!

article by EBONI + IVORY

What inspired you to create such a unique brand?

There are several things come together by a miracle. First one day I decided I wanted a carpet bag. Not a bag that people just call a “carpet bag”, but a bag made of real piled carpet with Oriental pattern. I looked everywhere online – UK, USA… Literally all around the world. I found many bags called “carpet”, but not one of them was made from real thick carpet. Some make their “carpet” bags out of tapestry, kilim, furniture and curtains fabrics, velvet or velour, mosque mat and even simple cloth, some of them even have Oriental patterns, but none of them made of real carpet.

That was a challenge. And possibility. I was looking for a business idea for almost 4 years and this was my kind of “Eureka” moment.

What made you decide to become a designer? How did you make your dream a reality?

I have a long history of being a Graphic Designer for textiles and print (since 1992). So, to switch into Fashion was just question of time. It would happen eventually anyway.


What is your biggest achievement to date?/Career highlight?

The business itself is quite an achievement.

To find a brave bags’ manufacturer, who gets it all together was quite a job and was quite a challenge. It took several months.  Nobody has made bags out of real carpet for the last 150 years. We have literally  reinvented the very old technology and skills. I found a manufacturer in Europe that make unique carpet for us – in “real life” this carpet is not bendable, but manufacturers have created bendable version especially for us. That is to say, to start unique production and to find implementation of the idea from absolutely nothing is the biggest achievement.

Our bags played a role in period detective drama Ripper Street (season 2, episode 3 “Become Man”).

We were one of the Finalist of Drapers Footwear and Accessories Award 2014.

We were an official sponsor of BRIT Award 2015 (featuring in the men’s goodie bags).


What is a typical day like as a designer?

My typical day may involve (in no particular order) IP, Incoterms, Taxes (incl. VAT, EORI etc), Finances, Manufacturers, Suppliers, Customs brokers, Trade shows project management, Trade shows attendance, Web-development, Merchant accounts, Gateway, Fairs and markets, PR, Marketing, Wholesale, Export, Stokists, Dispatches, Customer service, Photo sessions, Design of leaflets, booklets, cards etc, Databases, Newsletters, Press-Releases, Retail platforms and marketplaces, such as Amazon for example, Social media, Agents, Lawyers, Models, Catwalks, Awards and professional parties, Memberships, Seminars, Workshops

… and above of all of that I constantly look for new opportunities.

… and a smile! 🙂

What inspires each print/pattern on the carpet bags?

We use patterns, that provided by our manufacturers – they have more than 200 to choose from. I give preference to historical Oriental patterns to match the idea of Victorian style.

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How do you select the materials you use?

The carpet we use is made especially for our needs. It is unique super quality Western European woven piled carpet that is extremely durable, easy to wash and maintain – the qualities crucial for a bag.

How long does it generally take to create one unique carpet bag from start to finish?

Our bags are handmade by professional manufacturers in Europe. It is quite complicated process and there is no such a thing as making one bag from start to finish.

We create a stock. And to do so our manufacturers follow very strict technological process that involves certain steps to make workpieces and semimanufacturers for all stock together.

Carpet bags are sometimes viewed as exceptionally retro/vintage, how do you keep on top of current fashion trends? How does Made Of Carpet sit within the fashion world today?

To be honest, I do not really care much what is in trend, I do what I like. We have a privilege to be the only brand in our price range, which offers a Carpet Bag made out of real piled thick carpet.

It is a narrow niche, but we are the best and only in it.

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Mary Poppins was famous for her never ending Carpet Bag! What’s in your carpet bag?

When we made our first Gladstone-style bag (model Exquisite), we measured the bottom of the bag by lying an iPad  horizontally and a bottle of Champagne across the length!

Bubbly booze and technology create modern urban Mary Poppins 😉

Where would you like to see your brand in 5 years time? /What are your plans for the future?

It is not my first business and my wise investments in the past let me run my fashion business with no debts or investors. This why I have the privilege not to report my actions to anyone, not to make any business plans and to change strategies when I find it is right time to do so.

Finally, what are three words to describe Made of Carpet?

Made of Carpet®