Samudra’s Photo-Printed Pouches Capture the Beauty of O‘ahu

Samudra’s photo-printed bags featuring crystal-blue waters, balmy palms and sundrenched beaches have us dreaming of a great escape. O‘ahu-based designer Jennifer Binney shares her latest inspirations, her go-to Honolulu shops and why the pouch is the perfect anti-purse.

Soft green seas pouch urban outfitters collaboration, $65. Electric coco pouch, $65. Tropical collage pouch, $65.
Photos: Odeelo Dayondon


Photo: Odeelo Dayondon 

Your aesthetic in three words…

Beachy, modern and neon.


What was the impetus for starting Samudra?

I launched the line in 2011. I was traveling a lot for work and was inspired by all the photos I was taking along the way.


Where does the name Samudra originate from?

It’s Sanskrit for ocean and translates to “the gathering of waters.” India was one of the places I was traveling to a lot when I started Samudra and it only seemed fitting to use a word that spanned both of my worlds. 


What is your design process like?

I try to follow my own instincts and what I’m wanting at that moment. Sometimes it’s driven by something as simple as a color and sometimes it’s a location that serves as my muse. 


Why the pouch as your signature silhouette?

I’m not a purse girl—I don’t own one and won’t wear one. But, I need to put my things in a big black hole, so I thought a pouch would be perfect. Besides, it fits in a huge tote or other bag, which I do love. 


What is on your current inspiration board?

Evil eyes, rich blues, tie dyes and shibori.


What destination are you excited to visit next?

Morocco! I’m dying to go there to see the textiles, eat the food and take images of the oasis in the middle of the desert. 


Favorite fashion designers?

I’m a fan of Phoebe Philo’s clean, minimalist lines and I love the androgynous but embellished vibe of Isabel Marant.


What’s next for Samudra?

Keep a look out for new beach accessories, blankets, towels and other goodies!


Favorite HNL Haunts

Mikoh Hinano Swimsuit, $202. Bychari shark tooth bracelet, $40.


  • Bling It On: The Owens & Co. gift shop downtown stocks ByChari, one of my favorite local jewelry lines. 1152 Nu‘uanu Ave., 808-531-4300. 

  • Chic Eats: The Pig and The Lady is a go-to for yummy Vietnamese fusion. 83 N. King St., 808-585-8255.

  • Beach Bound: Guava Shop in Hale‘iwa has great cover-ups and swimsuits. 66 Kamehameha Highway, 808-637-9670.

  • Sip Back, Relax: I love the pool at The Modern Honolulu for a sunset cocktail unwind. 1775 Ala Moana Blvd., 808-943-5800.

  • Wave Hello: Really, my happy place is in the surf wherever there are fun little peelers.


Samudra is available at: //  Rebecca Beach, The Royal Hawaiian, 808-931-7722 //  Fighting Eel, Royal Hawaiian Center, 808-738-9295 


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Honolulu Magazine May 2020
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