Looking for a unique handbag that exudes flair and high fashion at the same? Look no further—Jess Rose, owner of Jay Davis Bags, released several capsule collections featuring show-stopping bags that are truly one of a kind pieces.
Rose has been making bags since high school. She has always loved to use her creativity towards wearable art, and when she moved to New York after college and began working for a couture designer, she discovered her eagerness to create pieces spontaneously.
During her time in New York City, Rose was told by members of the fashion industry to create three sizes and three colors of bags to be successful. However, she realized quickly that this did not align with her creative style and soon after she moved to Denver to start Jay Davis Bags.
Rose is a creative at heart, which is apparent in her funky studio as well as in her bags. Her space is decorated with a color-coordinated mood wall that features loads of inspiration. Another wall features vintage spray painted mirrors. Shelving aligned with color-coordinated materials for her bags tie together her eccentric workspace. The masterpieces that she creates are reminiscent of the vibe that her studio gives off.
“My brand is based off of art to wear,” Rose said. Each bag is unique in its own way and made entirely by Rose, making a Jay Davis handbag truly a work of art. For Rose, art isn’t just a piece on the wall, but it’s something that one can wear and use to express themselves and their identity on a daily basis.
Rose’s new capsule collections include western flair, bright colors and also a Midnight Collection made with black crocodile skin. Her Longhorn Series is incredibly unique. Each bag is different from the next, but they are all connected by the gold or silver longhorns emblazoned across the body of the bags.
“I would say it’s western rocker chic,” Rose said about this series. “A lot of women that buy The Longhorn, it’s not like they’re totally into a complete western vibe, they’re not all from Texas … that’s usually the handbag that I wear to like a concert with a leather bomber, or if I want to punk out a really feminine floral dress I will usually wear that.”
Additionally, she released a Sunset Collection that brings western wear to an entirely new level. “The Sunset collection that I’m working on is inspired by just the golden, vibrant pink and purple sunsets,” she said. The bags are crafted with yellow cowhide, making them statement pieces that will stand above any typical handbag.
Rose often gains inspiration from things she sees or experiences in her daily life. Rather than planning her collections in advance, she tends to discover new ideas on the fly. For example, she plans to create a collection based on the architecture of the floor in an AirBNB that she stayed in while she was in Santa Fe for a trunk show.
“I was so inspired by actually all of the bath tiles in our AirBNB in Santa Fe,” she said. “I’m going to create a Santa Fe collection that is based off of those colors … really pretty blues, and like chocolatey kind of tanish colors and some ivories. And maybe just a little bit of orange in it or something I think.”
Sometimes creating collections spontaneously is a risk. In 2020, Rose created a Rainbow Series during the holidays that ultimately paid off.
While Rose had been planning this series for several years, she “woke up one day and wanted to do it,” she said. “I was just like, ‘oh gosh, this is what I have to do.’ … it was kind of crazy to do it at that time because I was so busy, but sometimes as an artist you just have to get it out and if you’re able to release, you’re actually more productive in the end anyways.”
Currently, Rose is looking forward to her Midnight Series as she is using embossed black crocodile to construct the pieces.
“I’m really excited to dive my hands into that leather just because I already kind of know some of the bags that are going to be coming from that … and who doesn’t need a really good black handbag,” she said.
Jay Davis Bags is rapidly expanding, and Rose’s bags are now featured in over 50 stores across the country. She sources her leather predominantly from the Midwest, while some of the leather that she uses originates from Italy or Brazil. However, she tries to obtain leather locally as much as she can.
As for Rose’s clients, they are devoted customers who tend to want a specific style when it comes to their handbags. Her process is very organic – nothing is meticulously planned out. Although she respects businesses that are that way, that isn’t the way that Rose works and her clients tend to gravitate towards her if they are the same way.
Her clients typically “want something very unique. Whether it’s because they have a regular 9-5 [job] and they’re not able to be really bold or they like to treat themselves to something that’s super unique and one of a kind,” she said.
Rose serves a wide demographic in terms of her customer base. Now more than ever, her customers express to her their excitement when they are in public and someone recognizes their bag as a Jay Davis piece.
“My age range with what I do is so different. There are women that are 19 buying my handbags, a lot of women in their 50s and 60s that buy my handbags,” she said. “What’s so interesting and fun about it is that everyone knows that they’re buying an art-to-wear piece, so if they can recognize a Jay Davis, it’s super special because that other person knows that’s such a one-of-a-kind handbag just like the one they have.”
The release of these capsule collections is just in time for the quickly approaching holiday season. Anyone looking for a staple bag that is unlike any other can find their next art-to-wear piece at Jay Davis Bags.
All photography by Jackson Davis.