On a rainy Thursday afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Ethan Koh, a now renowned luxury handbag designer. Ethan, a native Singaporean, divides his time between London and Singapore – while also hopping from one fashion capital to the next on the monthly basis. (Think Moscow, New York, and Paris!) In his beautiful family home, Ethan temporarily converted his study to be a makeshift studio of sorts, perfect for displaying the many products his loyal Singaporean customers covet. Ethan grew up in a family where crocodile leather was their trademark passion; their home is just a few minutes away from the tannery. From the minute we shook hands, Ethan was a delight to talk to, sharing his undying love for fabulous craftsmanship and the dying art of luxury. Currently stocked at Harrods and Saks Fifth Avenue, among dozens of other boutiques in Paris and Moscow, Ethan K has made a splash internationally and in his hometown with his candy-colored creations.
While talking to Ethan about his designs, I had the delight of trying on my favorite bags (see below!) Color plays a key role in defining Ethan's aesthetic, with vivid tones setting his leather bags apart from the rest. Growing up in Singapore, Ethan stated, allowed him to experience the enriching culture that Asia provides. From the dragonfruit magenta hue to the deep colors of the flora Singapore offers – all these factors influenced and fueled his creations. This is evident in each bag he has placed such detail in. Among my favorite designs were the smaller, petite bags, with delicate animal-shaped buttons adorning them. While speaking to Billionaire.com, Ethan said, 'Creating a beautiful crocodile skin bag isn't the kind of skill you can learn from a book'. His inherent knowledge of bags and leather was only enhanced through his fashion education in London. The dying art of creating such bags is being brought back to life with Ethan's designs, and his determination to let the sign of luxury and taste live on. Ethan captures his aim – which he has fulfilled – in an interview with Straits Times. 'Luxury, to me, is truly bespoke.'
To learn more about Ethan K. and his designs, check out this lovely video by The New York Times, in which Ethan chats with Suzy Menkes. A big thank you to Ethan and his team for the pleasure of seeing his creations in person!