Bring your statement to the table with a Kent Stetson clutch

Bring your statement to the table with a Kent Stetson clutch

Art meets function meets fun in Kent Stetson’s creative work. Our collaborator meets up with the man who has dogs—and other animals—at heart and in-hand.

July 18, 2019 By Sherri Telenko

“Walk into a room with one of my bags,” says artist Kent Stetson, “and your tribe will find you. It’s a great way to start a conversation with other dog people.”

Stetson’s popular dog-themed clutch bags depict a whole world of breeds—each with an added tactile touch: a red bandana around the Golden Retriever’s neck, a crystal bone on the Cocker Spaniel’s collar, a rubber chew bone alongside the pug’s face.

Reach for the scissors

Stetson’s work has allowed him to flex his artistic muscles by combining his background in graphic painting with the leather working skills he learned as a kid. It’s this blend of art and fashion that makes his creative pursuits marketable.

Fifteen years ago, Stetson started painting professionally and “at my first exhibition, I sold nothing,” he says. So, as they say in the business world, Stetson pivoted: “I started cutting up the canvases and sewing them into bags. They sold immediately.”

A Eureka moment

A defining moment came when an insightful retailer asked Stetson about putting dogs on his bags. And the rest is history! His first bag displayed two Labs bouncing a real tennis ball. It was the beginning of an extensive collection … and is still one of his most popular items.

No pets, must travel

Despite his love of animals, Stetson doesn’t have his own right now. “I travel too much,” he says. But he grew up on a farm surrounded by animals, particularly horses, “my mother made and repaired bridles. I learned leather working, from her.” Yes, he has a horse clutch! And cat lovers, rest assured: Stetson’s pet collection includes a tabby, a ginger cat with a bell collar and another cat decked out in fantastic tuxedo.

Tell it like it is

Kent Stetson makes statement bags—and they’re not the kind of statement most labels are prepared to embrace. He shouts out loud that pets are special and personal. For him, dog-themed bags are all about bringing your priorities—what you love and value—to the table (literally!).

Kent Stetson’s Pets Collection clutches start at US$208 and are on sale both online and at select retail outlets, specialty shows such as the Westminster Dog Show and at the Museum of Dog’s gift store in New York. For your special, special dog, he’s also available for commissions. www.kentstetson.com

Photo credit : Kent Stetson

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