katherine kweiWe are thrilled to bring you another exclusive interview with a fabulous handbag designer. Sari Brown from Lux Couture introduced me to Katherine Kwei designs. Sari and I are so intrigued by the delicate knotting technique that makes Katherine Kwei designs stand out. So while in New York City Vlad and I were able to meet Katherine Kwei and her assistant designer, Tiffany Koo (who will be working on a line for Katherine Kwei), and we have not been able to stop raving about her bags since. Do not expect a simple bag from her designs, for her handbags implement a knotting technique that will undoubtedly make her stand out from the rest. We sat down in her show room to talk about her handbag line and get to know the designer behind these fabulous handbags.

PB: Tell us about your fashion background?

KK: As a child I did a lot of arts and crafts. I went to Cornell and I had the option of being an environmental science major or fine arts major. My father told me that I could do fine arts as a hobby, so that kind of threw that idea out the door! After school I landed a job at Louis Vuitton and I landed a job in PR with them. That was my start into the fashion world. I was with Louis Vuitton for four years in Hong Kong. At the time Marc Jacobs had not joined Louis Vuitton so there was a huge focus on handbags, it was just bags bags bags. We did a huge China exhibition to introduce the company into China in the late 1990’s and we tried to educate people on the brand and history of Louis Vuitton. That is how my handbag love started.

I decided to go back to school at the London College of Fashion. This is the same school Jimmy Choo went to and it is very famous for leatherwork. I did three years there and ended up with a master’s degree in accessories design. I came to New York City then and did an internship with Zac Posen, but realized that I wanted to start my own line.

PB: So you have both experience on a personal level and educational background?

KK: I am a little bit old fashioned; I think you need to have the degree. I wanted the technical experience to learn how the handbags are constructed.

kwei trinity eve red   kwei handbag sky

PB: Do you want to branch out from handbags?

KK: I may go the route of doing accessories for accessories, as in charms for the bags. I like so many other designers that I feel like I have nothing to offer in terms of clothing!

PB: Who do you have in mind when designing your bags?

KK: I have designed many of my bags for my friends. Then again, my mother and her friends are always looking for my bags. So it is for a woman who wants something different but practical.

kwei trinity shopper red   kwei trinity carryall bag brown

PB: What is your branding image?

KK: The knots are my image. I stick to this rather than logos. I have childhood memories of my grandmother practicing the ancient Chinese art of knotting. Also, I line the inside of my bags in red suede.

PB: The knotting is so complex! Is it done by hand?

KK: Yes, they have to be hand knotted. I teach anyone working on my bags the knotting technique myself. It is quite time consuming! From start to finish some of the bags may take between 10-15 hours. I do ask them to do a slight braid on the back too. The Swarovski crystals are hand punched. So everything is done by hand for the most part.

katherine kwei trinity eve blue   katherine kwei isabelle shopper bronze

PB: You have lived in a plethora of fabulous cities. What took you to all of these places?

KK: My father was an International banker so we were transferred about every three years. I have lived in cities such as Athens, London, Dubai, Hong Kong, and New York.

PB: With all of the traveling, what is your favorite city in the world?

KK: Hong Kong. I was born there and my parents still live there. Also my production is there, so I spend much of my time there.

katherine kwei trinty satchel white   katherine kwei trinty shopper red

PB: What do you indulge in?

KK: FACE CREAM! I use Jurlique. It is expensive, but I am addicted to face cream.

PB: What is the last movie you saw?

KK: We just saw Gone Baby Gone. It was incredible, it was super intense and very real.

katherine kwei donna clutch red   katherine kwei donna clutch black

PB: Give us an interested fact!

Well, I just got engaged! So I am really happy about that!

PB: What online stores carry your bags?

KK: You can go through Katherine Kwei online, or Active Endeavors, Lux Couture, and 20 Unlimited.

katherine kwei donna pouch lime   katherine kwei isabelle evening bag silver

We finished up the interview and while Vlad snapped pictures, Katherine, Tiffany, and I browsed the show room. We drooled over a yellow leather Kooba jacket and chatted about fashion, life, and the fast pace of NYC compared to the rest of the world! We had a great time meeting Kathy and be on the look out for more fabulous designs from her in the future!

katherine kwei showroom

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • luce

    i am not liking these at all… :???:

  • purse collector

    Her bags are a bit tooo costumey for me…not my style :shock:

  • tiha

    her bags are out of this world. i love every single one of them. such a different style. i have a feeling she will become very big one day. i would love to see some shoes with those knots.

    thanks megs. :smile:

  • tiha

    are there any celebrities carrying her bags? i would love to know who..

    • GossipGirl Fan

      in fact, Blake Lively from Gossip Girl was seen recently carrying her bag. I do not like the ones showcased above but if you go to her website, there are some cute bags that are a little less couture and more street chic.

  • morebags

    I just bought one of her bags from Lux Couture last night! I’m so glad I did before this post because I can feel the bags flying out the door now…

  • Kiki

    hmmm….i dun know…i dun like her bag at all..maybe its just me or maybe i havent seen the right one yet! too much details and the knots just dont blend very well with the shape of the bags! i do appreciate her inspiration though!

  • wgs

    yeah…i dont like her bags at all. they are weird and eclectic looking. i can just imagine these bags must be heavy and hard to carry on the shoulder with all the knots.

  • jess

    she’s a cute girl but the bags are weird. too many hanging dangling straps. looks heavy too.

  • leahbag

    I love Kathy’s bags,I met her in New York when I was there buying for my the accessories store I work for in he UK. Needdless to say we bought these gorgeous bags, and they are not heavy at all, quite the contrary.

  • tiha

    does she have a website? i wanna see more,,.

  • Celine

    ugly bags

  • davey

    unfortunately and sorry to say but these are ridiculous looking bags and i can’t believe they cost more than $50.

  • Jane

    While at time I’m a bit eccentric when I dress – these bags aren’t doing it for me. They look like dried clusters of noodles stuck to the side of the bag. Definitely NOT letting the design of the bag reign. It’s just too gimmicky.

  • Jen

    Out of all her bags, I like the clutch the best. Though they all sort of look like the bags got put through the shredder half-way. :sad:

  • Amanda

    Is she the designer? She needs a designer. Everything looks unpolished and weird. Who wears these ugly stuff?



  • Kelly

    Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational handbags. I especially love the Isabel shopper bag. I commend you on mixing of culture with fashion. The knotting is exquisite. Your line carries something for everyone. I think the uses of the different animal skins especially the lamb skin makes my toes curl in pure delight. The red suade lining will let those intimate with the women carrying your handbag to know she has the real thing. I’m saving all my pennies to purchase my favorite. Keep up the good work and follow your dream. Thank you for sharing with us, your parents must be very proud. Fondly, Kely

  • Foong Wai Yoke

    they are cumbersome & ugly. The reason they cost so much is becos of the leather used.

  • I like the bags! I’ve just found a great website that is currently having a sale on her stuff: hautelook.com They also have sample sales of top designer clothing, jewelry, make up, etc. The membership is free and sooo worth it.. I’m addicted!

  • Rina

    I LOVE these bags!!! I love her designs!! I wish I could afford them though!!

  • juliec

    I just got the Edna pochette in navy and it’s gorgeous! For some reason, people think it’s heavy but the leather is so soft and supple and light. I wish the bags were not as pricey or I would start collecting them along with my bal bags!

  • Keli K

    I met Katherine Kwei in Nolita when she was shopping for her wedding reception dress. She is beautiful, and absolutely lovely in person. She was carrying one of her bags, which was AMAZING. The image of that bag stayed with me. It didn’t look anything like the ones above.

    I’m shopping for a new bag for Fall, and found this blog. You need to see these bags in person to fully appreciate them. They are like works of art, but have a casual feel, which makes them perfect for every day. The Bela bag on her website looks something like the bag Katherine had. Here’s the link: http://www.katherinekwei.com/#/Pre-Fall_09/

  • www.purseblog.com

    Meet katherine kwei.. Smashing :)