Toronto-based designer and celebrity body and posture expert, Dr. Liza Egbogah, unveiled her first bag collection in early July. Dr. Egbogah is well-known across Canada and internationally as Dr. Liza and has the namesake renowned shoe collection as well. Her new bag line features dr. Liza Backpacks and dr. Liza Shoulder Bags.
After many years of treating women with posture and joint misalignment due to backpacks or handbags, Dr. Liza says that women are constantly compromising between style and health.
“Everything that I design has the functional perspective,” she explains. “I do it to solve a problem. With my shoe line, I started with designing pumps because women couldn’t find high heels that were functional. A lot of women who came in to see me for treatment, suffered from back pain, foot pain and many other health problems. At that time, one of the other issues I noticed was people who had back and neck pain that was caused by wearing the wrong bags.
“Overtime, our bodies will literally adapt to the weight of a bag,” she adds. “We use our bodies to stop the bag from falling, and it changes our posture. In some cases, you would even see the curvature in your spine, certain muscles would shorten, and you will get headaches and neck pains. Even the backpacks that you thought were better are often not ergonomic, and many people hunch to accommodate them.”
With the production in full swing earlier this year, Dr. Liza didn’t let the pandemic stop her and went ahead with the collection release in July.
“Everything was already started – I had been working on samples and prototypes since last year,” she says. “When the pandemic happened, I could have said: ‘This is the worst time to release a bag.’ But it wasn’t even just about the customer, but also about the entire supply chain, factory, delivery. My bags and shoes are made in Brazil. They don’t have CERB [Canada Emergency Response Benefit], or job security. This is the time that factories actually need the orders the most. That’s why I went ahead. Even if people don’t buy my bags now, they will buy them later. I don’t make seasonal items. I make things that are for the long-term.”
Using science and rigorous clinical testing at every stage in the design process, Dr. Liza’s bags are a classically chic collection with several key features. The flat, rectangular base maximizes the surface area of the base and, therefore, helps balance the weight load and reduce the build-up of pressure on the shoulders. The textured shoulder pads prevent bags from slipping from the shoulders, which can lead to the twist of the body. The bottom of the backpack is designed to sit right at the top of the lumbar spine, which is the ideal placement to maintain good posture, according to research. Meanwhile, the shoulder bag can be adjusted to sit at the hip or the front of the abdomen, for better posture and easy weight-bearing.
“Most backpacks are narrow, but mine is wide,” says Dr. Liza. “When you think about the load of the backpack, if the larger amount of weight is distributed over a small area, there would be a higher pressure on the body. So, a bit of mathematics and physics went into the design of my collections. Narrow backpacks can also make you look bigger, especially if you have wider shoulders. Wider bags are more flattering and more aesthetically appealing.”
All backpacks and bags in the collection have pockets and storage space, and their cushioned shoulder pads make them feel almost weightless on the body. The shoulder pads are also textured, which prevents them from slipping.
The collection in available in a variety of colours, from brown and black, to red and bubblegum pink.
“There is a stereotype that doctors are not fashionable. So, I like to change that misconception,” says Dr. Liza with a laugh. “People often think that when something is functional or orthopedic, it’s not fashionable. But I love fashion and I’m a doctor!”
Photography courtesy of Dr. Liza.