about jenae michelle
jenae michelle was born and raised in colorado. her mother recalls that from a very young age jenae was hand-picking daring polyester ensembles, complete with handbags and parasols. this photograph was taken at her great-grandmother’s farm house in indiana, where jenae spent her summers. jenae savored her summers on the farm. when she wasn’t on the farm she was sending letters to her grandparents, anxiously awaiting a time when she might return. although her own parents each possessed college degrees and held “white-collar jobs,” jenae was more impressed watching the indiana relatives make a living with their hands—farming, cooking, cleaning, working in the canning factory, and, of course, sewing. for the indiana relatives, sewing was just a part of life.
in 1995, jenae started her company, range of emotion, creating one-of-a-kind handbags. and despite the fact that she has had offers to design for larger companies, jenae finds it more satisfying to remain small and thus continue to have a part in each and every bag. she drafts fresh patterns and uses different surface design for every new spring and fall collection. her bags have the reputation for being original, a little off-beat, and rich in texture—while still being functional. jenae considers functionality to be of equal importance to surface design, noting, “there are a lot of women who buy a beautiful bag and it ends up just sitting in the closet because it doesn’t function according to their needs.” given her roots on the farm, it isn’t surprising that her bags are also known for their old-fashioned attention to detail. this alone sets jenae’s work apart from nearly all garments and accessories being produced today. jenae comments, “it’s sad to go to new york and see the hollowness of the current garment industry, almost everything is produced overseas.” in making a bag jenae uses fine and vintage fabrics; vintage buttons and buckles; along with classic technique.