Arts & Culture » Visual Art

Runyaro Richardson's handcrafted handbags are a nod to the '80s



To borrow from everyone's favorite summer mantra, Runyaro Richardson is "living her best life." The 30-something songstress and entrepreneur's custom Musicnaire cassette handbags made their runway debut at this year's New York Fashion Week, and they've already been gaining in popularity.

Runyaro (who goes by Runyaro Brilliant — Runyaro means "brilliant" in Swahili) says she started making the bags three years ago, using hand-sewing techniques she learned from working as a hairstylist. "My creative fashion music mind lead me to handcraft my authentic cassette tape handbags," says the native Detroiter, who now resides in Houston.

All bags are made from scratch, and Richardson uses high-end leather, snakeskin, and other fabrics, with cassettes of different music genres incoporated around the bag. The bags are artsy without being corny, and versatile enough for a hip-hop concert or a formal dinner. They're something you don't see everyday, but also something you immediately want to have when you do see it.

Previously, Richardson made a name for herself as a talented singer, and says she channeled that same energy into her brand. "Music is like my heartbeat," she says. As "an '80s baby," Richardson says she grew up listening to music on cassette tapes. "I never had to skip a track on albums back then," she says. "Fashion became my second passion. I put the love I have for music and fashion into the handbags I created."

Richardson has already had a plethora of co-signs from celebrities such as Angel Brinks (from the TV show Basketball Wives L.A.), DJ Duffey (French Montana's DJ), Ralph Tresvant (lead singer of New Edition), Big Daddy Kane, Coko (lead singer of Sisters With Voices), Deelishis (radio personality), J-Moss (gospel artist), and fellow Detroiter Big Sean. She credits her nonstop hustle mentality to her Detroit roots.

"I grew up in a Motown-strong music city," she says. "Detroit has a lot of legendary music influences. These influences have led me to become a singer, songwriter, designer, sketch artist, and most of all a music fashion mogul. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan has also allowed me to have such a strong adaptation to being the entrepreneur that I have become today."

While her Musicnaire brand is currently her main point of focus, Richardson says she will also keep singing and building toward even bigger goals. "My future is to create a record company that focuses on independent artists," she says. She says she also wants to create a performance arts school to educate and develop student talent.

Someday, she hopes to see Musicnaire as a full product line in stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, "as well as numerous 'elite exclusive Musicnaire' locations worldwide," she says. She also plans on expanding to other products, like cassette tape backpacks.

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