Holly Aiken is a woman with serious baggage. Colorful purses, wallets and cases line her downtown Raleigh design studio, enchanting locals and visitors alike. At Stitch, person, purpose and place combine, as can only happen in a city where form and function are one common thread.
Fashion editors are taking notice, with Lucky, Design Milk and Teen Vogue recently showcasing her designs. Even the North Carolina Museum of History has two of Holly's bags in its permanent collection.
She is a homegrown talent, learning business and design at the feet of her parents who owned a popular Raleigh-based children's clothing line. Holly earned a degree from the College of Design at North Carolina State University, later moving to New York City to create websites. On the side, she'd sew handbags, which she sold in Brooklyn coffee shops. She later returned to Raleigh to focus on her bag business, which quickly took off.
Today, Holly draws inspiration from dime store aisles and vintage racing jackets, seamlessly combining crisp colors with striking geometric shapes for a decidedly modern take on vintage vibe. Bags are made on site at her downtown Raleigh shop by textile artisans, enabling visitors to pick their perfect souvenir from a seemingly endless variety of ready to wear items, or to commission their own custom design.
Make a trip
Residents of old-school Raleigh may remember "the little shop around the corner," which housed a Ladies Dress Shop for 73 years. Newer fans of the up-and-coming downtown Raleigh "scene" probably refer to the space as "that cute, little green building just down from Raleigh Times Bar." Either way, Holly feels that the location at 20 E. Hargett St. couldn't be a better spot for Stitch.
See the creative process in action as Holly and her crew make urban totes, messenger bags and diaper bags right before your eyes. They thrive on interaction with customers, so stop by and shop away. Surprise a friend back home with a limited edition or one-of-a-kind bag made in the shop; or you just might fall in love and decide to keep it for yourself.
“I travel to be inspired. It's always fun to bring something special back that is representative of a memory and that visit.”