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June 26, 2023

The last locally made tote you’ll ever buy

Adelaide bag brand Adamo makes totes designed to be durable, practical and last beyond a single fashion cycle.

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  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Pictures: Supplied

Barely a year into business, Imara Seneviratne’s bag brand, Adamo, is already too popular for her to keep up with demand.


Adelaide bag brand

Pre-orders currently open.


The founder, who also works as a stylist at Levi’s in the city, launched the outfit as a predominantly e-commerce business, and it found early success through an increasingly influential marketing source.

“One of my TikToks sort of went viral, so I sold a crazy amount,” Imara says of an early batch of bags.

“It takes about a month and a bit to make them, and [they take] about a month and a bit to get here, so by the time they got here, I’d already sold everything.”

Adamo’s bags are structured canvas totes, made from organic cotton and lined with recycled polyester, and feature a printed logo. They also have five stitched-in pockets, two of which have zips.

“I like a tote bag, but stuff always got lost in it,” Imara says. “And being a woman, having easy access to my keys and my phone were really important, if I was out or anything like that.”

Imara with the Primis T Adamo tote


Adamo bags are designed by Imara and constructed in China, through a company called Autron. Imara selected the manufacturer for its stated commitment to safe work practices and ethical materials.

The size of an Adamo bag and the utility of its many pockets makes it as functional as it is stylish, but Imara’s main hope is to create an accessible version of a design-led, sustainability driven tote fit for daily use.

“When I looked at sustainable tote bags, they were all in the $100 to $150-$200 range, and I was, like, ‘This is great, and it’s good that they’re promoting sustainability, but I don’t understand how this is accessible to anyone’,” Imara says.

She launched the bags at $60, but quickly realised that to account for the manufacturing and personal time she was putting into the business, she needed to raise prices. The bags are now $85.

“I felt like an awful person for putting the price up when I’ve been preaching that they should be accessible, but I think $85 is still in that range,” Imara says.

Adamo is Imara’s first business, but starting a fashion brand has been a long-held goal.

Growing up in a “quite strict” household, Imara says fashion became an outlet for self-expression, a way to “get rebellious, but not really”.

She grew up between Sri Lanka and Dubai before migrating to Australia with her family as a young girl, and in the Australian context, fashion took on deeper meaning.

“Not having much of an identity, as an immigrant, coming into this country, I had to find other outlets, so fashion was a big one,” Imara says.

“And being a person of colour, I did feel immediately written off in a lot of settings, so I found first impressions, if I feel good and I look good, then… I’m going to decide what these people think about me, because of how I present myself.”

Totes but make it fashun


Imara carried around the idea of starting a fashion brand, but it wasn’t until a chance meeting with Glad founder Bella McRae at a music festival that she felt it was something she could achieve.

“Even now I don’t really see a lot of people in business that look like me, or that are younger,” Imara says.

“[Bella] was my first example of, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so cool, a person in business who’s young’.

“I met [her] when I had a semi-established business. But before I went into the logistics of it, it seemed impossible.”

Now that Adamo has found an audience, Imara is keen to expand the range – possibly to include additional sizes, and perhaps a bum bag.

“I only wear tote bags, bum bags… I don’t really like backpacks. Ruins my outfit,” she laughs.

Customers have requested more colour options, but she wants to keep to a core range in order to maintain Adamo’s ethos.

“I don’t want to mass-produce a thousand red tote bags, and it’s not trendy anymore,” she says. “Sticking to core colours, I think, sticks to my core values, because I don’t want this to be a gimmicky, fast-fashion thing.”

Adamo bags are currently available for pre-order. Visit the website for more information.

Connect with the brand on Instagram.

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