About the Designer

Pamela Burkland, Designer

The Belgian Sisters of the Sacred Heart considered it essential to the education of any young lady that she learn to speak French, write letters in perfect penmanship, curtsy, and execute small French sewing stitches.   Pamela Burkland, Recherché’s designer, fourth grader at Sacred Hearts Academy in Honolulu, fell in love with the art of fine hand-sewing.

During the era of “Flower Power,” Pamela turned psychedelic fabric into trippy dresses and bell-bottoms for The Sunshine Company in Portland, Oregon, a very small shop in Old Town with a very short history. Children came along and with them the challenge of creating little tiny bell-bottoms out of recycled legs of adult jeans and little flowered shirts and dresses.

Recherché began with a pile of antique lace trims and a family legacy of tattered Victorian baby clothes too beautiful to be thrown away. Out of these came small potpourri bags that initially sold at a shop on S.E. Hawthorne. Requests, ideas, gifts of used fabric, all suggested many kinds of bags, and Pamela created many of them and even sold some.   The defining moment was a gift from an quilter friend of six black antique Japanese obis – uncut.  For months the bag of Japanese obis sat in a corner of the dining room until one day Pamela started folding them and the Obi Bag was born.

A secondary line of smaller, black moiré bags, emerged when a friend was looking at one of the designs made up and said: “We used to call those Opera Bags.”  A few remnants of old retro fabric and Asian brocade were made up into the smaller Opera Bag format and the Pan Asian Bags prevailed in terms of popularity.

For Pamela, hand-sewing is mindfulness.  Using vintage and antique items hand-stitched into something new,  is an act of meditation, of reverence for the earth, and an act of joy in creating a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art.

Since launching this website, several smaller items have been added – the vintage Japanese obi fabric is such a treasure even the scraps can be re-purposed into charming little poches (pockets) for business cards, gifting jewelry or money; and in the recent past, totes made by combining vintage Obi  sashes of various types into padded shoulder bags in a larger size for Kindles, iPods, knitting, books, etc.

Please enjoy scrolling through this website!  Thank you for your interest!

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