Rorin’s contemporary handbags are New Orleans
Erin Tufts admits she is handbag obsessed. “I bought my first Chanel in Paris. I got a Balenciaga for my college graduation, and I have always saved up for them one at a time,” she says.
And as it turns out, her fixation is good news for the rest of us.
The silhouettes, she says, are timeless. That allows her to add color and texture yet still create bags that are classic rather than trendy. “I want my products to last you 10 years, not 10 months,” Tufts says. “First let me say I am a contemporary brand. I am bridging the gap between luxury and high street, not fast fashion. My products are an investment. . I use Riri zippers. They are Swiss made, industrial grade zippers with the zipper pulls . that withstand 160 lbs. of pressure. All the other hardware is solid brass. I use some of the finest leathers, calf hair to lambskin from Napa Valley to Italy. Most importantly, my product is handmade here in New Orleans by some of the most amazing people I know. . I am hands on, and I work with them as a team.”
The LSU grad’s road to designing took a Hurricane Katrina detour to North Carolina,
where she and a friend started a clothing line. She moved to New York City, and searching for another creative outlet, she came up with the idea for her signature clutch.
“I did a ton of research, and it turns out it’s an original idea the dual compartment clutch our Frannie clutch,” she says. “I spent a lot of time trying to figure out construction for dual compartments in one flat clutch. Now I continuously work on developing it into something better and stronger with the awesome team I work with at NOLA Design, Development Manufacture,” where the bags are made. The large Barley backpack’s straps can move to convert it to a shoulder bag. But all the Rorin styles keep an emphasis on practicality, with dual or triple compartments.
The larger pieces, the Barley backpack and Peanut duffle, are made to order. Tufts keeps a small inventory of the Billie drum and Frannie clutch.
Had the bags been the product of an “ah ha” moment, when she tussled with a too small clutch or too big bag and thought, “I can do better than this?”
“It was more of a ‘this is what I want to do’ moment,” she says. “Accessories. I love to accessorize. I love all black basics and ‘speak to me’ accessories. Don’t think I haven’t already started to work my way into shoes.”