Giving a Hand to the Umbrella Business?

Give them a hand? Starkweather's Bridget umbrella

Brooklyn, NY—It was a dark and stormy night. (Sorry couldn’t resist that line in an umbrella article).

If you were one of those who dared to venture forth, you might have needed a hand, courtesy of Bridget, a limited edition umbrella by Starkweather Umbrellas, founded in 2010.

Each Bridget has a handle created from a cast of a model named Bridget, “sanded by hand to a satin finish.” The body of the umbrella is imported from Italy has a black canopy with a translucent amber tip. And each of the 400 Bridgets comes etched with the name “Bridget” and along with a serial number. Suggested retail: $349.

Why the hand handle? Starkweather says it’s “to give the user a sense of comfort. The hand is naturally ergonomic shape, and the experience of holding a hand provides a sense of companionship. What would you rather hold on a dark and stormy night?”

Well, a real live hand would be nice to hold whether it’s stormy or sunny many would say.

Bridget shaking hands with Bridget

The company is selling them through its website, but they may want to be cautious in handling their rainy day concept.

Two years ago, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, which represents a group of high-end Swiss watchmakers, and the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry got in trouble for its anti-counterfeiting campaign that featured a replica hand.

Entitled “Fake People Wear Fake Watches,” the campaign featured a mannequin-like hand, wearing presumably a fake watch. Even before the campaign hit newsstand in magazines and newspapers, it raised the ire of many who found it offensive to disabled people, many of whom use prosthetic hands or other appendages.

“In my view, they implicitly point to a person with a prosthetic hand as ‘fake’ in an encompassing and generalizing fashion–or at least they can be all too easily be understood that way,” complained one amputee at the time.

Fortunately, Bridget doesn’t seem to be grasping with any similar innuendos. One minority, however, may take exception to Bridget’s hand though: left handed people. Bridget was modeled on a right hand, making it challenging for lefties to hold the umbrella in their dominant hand.


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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology.