The Frida Kahlo ‘Making Her Self Up’ exhibition at the V&A museum in London has been a sell-out, with the run extended by two weeks to cope with the demand for tickets.

The iconic Mexican artist is one of the most recognised female artists of the last century, and the merchandise had to reflect that. WBC Bags for Life, which produces and customises bags, was approached by the V&A to create a tote bag.

The company explains: “The V&A came to us ahead of revealing the launch of their ‘Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up’ exhibition to capture the vibrant colours and unique detail of the famed Mexican artist. Combining bold fabric dyeing with vivid screen print and finely detailed digital print was the only way to capture the desired finish. The process stretched our skilled artisans to create a tote bag that is a fitting visual interpretation of the iconic artist.”

The aim was to produce a bag that was affordable without compromising on quality or ethics, adds the company. “We achieved this by screen printing one side of the bag and digitally printing the other side onto an 8oz open yarn cotton fabric and dyeing this in the ‘azul’ blue of her childhood home,” reveals WBC. “In an ideal world we’d yarn dye a combed cotton fabric and digitally print the whole piece, [but] this would have been cost-prohibitive. There is always a balance to strike when it comes to budget, quality, speed and function.”


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