Designer Sade Mims is a big believer in energy. You could say she has a cult following, but she views it as the result of five years of intentional community building — creating relationships with followers, friends, and artistic collaborators. She says humbly that she’s simply putting love and care into the world, and people are giving it all right back. “It’s just good energy all around.”
Take, for example, what happened during quarantine. Finding it hard to navigate the pandemic, she was scrolling through social media looking for solace when she came across the work of L.A.-based designer Cameron Tea. She reached out to see if she could put her own touch on his work, he agreed, and “everything felt good,” she says. The beaded bucket hats and handbags they created together went viral.
“It really was a labor of love,” she said. “With everything happening right now with the pandemic, the revolution, and Black resilience, I’m happy that I was able to create something that brought me so much light and happiness. I wasn’t feeling fueled by anything, but that gave me so much life.”
Mims started making jewelry in 2013 as a creative outlet and as “a means for storytelling,” she says. She launched Edas as a line of jewelry in 2015, adding handbags and leather goods two years later. Bigger brands like Of a Kind and Urban Outfitters soon came calling, offering collaboration opportunities.
Edas pieces often feel like they belong in a museum: sculptural rings and earrings, bags with oversized buckles or playfully beaded handles. Giving someone the final puzzle pieces to a great outfit brings her joy, she says. But she doesn’t want to be boxed in as just an accessories designer. “Edas is really a manifestation of something I’ve always wanted to do,” she told the Cut. “To be an artist and create.”
Mims was born in 1992 and raised between Philadelphia and South Jersey. She sees her upbringing as a bubbling pool of inspiration, especially when she considers the women who raised and inspired her growing up. When she visits home, she’ll ask her parents to recount stories from her childhood. “I’ll write down notes, figure out what it means to me, and connect the dots,” she said. “I’m thinking about nostalgic things and my past when I’m designing.” When she moved to Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, she found that the older West Indian folk on her block reminded her of home; the people who raised her are from the same generation. There, her connection to her past only became stronger.
From finding inspiration to designing and developing ideas, Mims is considerate every step of the way. She has made a conscious choice to be a seasonless designer and focus on a sustainable, made-to-order model with limited production runs. “It’s really not about the money for me,” she said. “It’s about the creative process and being able to tell my story and amplify other voices. As I’m growing, I’m buckling down on these things. I have to stay true to my core, creating at my own pace and with my own approach.”
When her leather goods go into production in either New York or Mexico, she still keeps interpersonal connection in mind. “I’ve built a really beautiful relationship with all the people that I work with,” she said. “It’s like family now.” Rather than take a hands-off approach, she says her team is always open to sitting down and discussing ideas. “I’ve been very lucky to meet folks who allow me that time and that space to work in that way. It takes a little more time, but I’m so grateful.”
On the heels of all this support and success, Mims wants to expand Edas to realms outside of wearable goods, moving into home objects so that customers can transform not only their bodies but their living spaces as well. But for now, she’s doing new color iterations of her classic handbag styles. She says that they’re her babies. “I don’t know what’s next,” she said. “But I feel confident in knowing that.” She might not be able to predict the future, but she knows the good vibes will keep flowing.