I was a web designer and loved making sites in college, but once I had to work for clients, I hated it! It was tedious, long, and boring! As an artist, I have been bouncing around through my passions. But I could never find the right fit. I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
However, in 2013, I made a drastic decision! I decided to fuse my obsession with history, military relics, military vehicles, design, and vintage clothes into a product. It took me a while to figure out how it was going to work or even look. It was a lot of trial and error! Some errors were very frustrating and some were hilarious! But one day, I had the idea to customize vintage military bags I had bought for a dollar at the I Goldberg Army & Navy store. I had some screen-printing paint and brushes and I copied some WW2 military designs on the bag.
That afternoon, I didn’t realize that I made my first 88th Company bag.
The First 88th Company Bag: The Paratrooper Laundry Bag
The painting work was very basic and simple. Half of what I did was still experimental. Moreover, painting on fabric was something new and difficult for me. I couldn’t use my beloved CTRL+Z! This was serious and real!
88th Company was Born
Doing my first bag was extremely fun! I had music blasting and paint all over my apartment! I loved that energy! That’s what I was craving for! It was super positive and I felt fulfilled!
However, I had to think about a name for my brand. As an avid Company of Heroes gamer, I wanted to use the word “Company”. But I needed a number. So I picked 88, as an homage to my mom and my two brothers, who have 8 or 88 as their date of birth. Furthermore, I heard that the number 88 also symbolizes the abundance of positive energy. Therefore, 88th Company was born! (Notice on the first laundry bag, I unconsciously painted the 8th ball. That was a sign :))
Bag Number 2
I started my second bag, by paying homage to the B17 Flying Fortress and the USAAF.
The canvas is a vintage military bag from the Netherlands. It has one of the best cotton canvas quality I have ever seen to date!
This is one of the proudest and most basic B17 flying fortresses I’ve painted! But it’s damn beautiful! It’s also a very popular bag on my Pinterest.
I let my creativity go by doing my versions of the USAAF patches. However, today, I keep all the patches historically correct. I got a bit carried away here lol :).
Bag Number 3: 307th Squadron Barrack Bag
With practice, my skills got better. I started to create my techniques to make the paint look distressed and aged on the fabric.
In a few weeks, these bags were quickly sold on my Etsy store and it was the most rewarding and fulfilling time I ever had!
Bag Number 4: Memphis Belle Barrack Bag
I love to watch the Memphis Belle movie! A pure classic! Moreover, I always wanted to pay tribute to its crew and nose art. So, I painted this bag!
Bag Number 5: Briefing Time Duffle Bag
After an awesome trip to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, I was inspired to paint a bag celebrating the B25 Mitchell Liberator Briefing Time. Here are a few pictures of this gorgeous bomber:
I like to make any nose art and insignia in my style. Now I call it the 88th Company style!
This bag was really hard to paint on, but with my years of experience, I learned to tame hard cotton canvas. The best solution is to wash it with gentle detergent (sensitive skin, PH7) and later iron it by spraying ironing spray starch. That makes my life easier! Finally, I also popped the bag open by using a seam cutter. It does take an hour or so, but it makes my painting and design process a breeze!
In my Next post, I will share one of my two most important bespoke bags. They have been the turning point in how I design my bags today. So stay tuned for more!
That’s all for today Sailors,
Feel free to ask me questions about the 88th Company Archives.
For direct contact please don’t hesitate to write me a telegram.
Sonia 🙂 Xo