Hot on the heels of the launch of local lingerie brand Naked & Unbound comes one-month-old accessories label Augustine Goods, which bills itself as a handmade leather goods brand offering bags that are both stylish and utilitarian. Founder Isabella Augustine (above), who works as a full-time graphic designer at Zouk, tells Female what makes her brand unique and why Singaporean women will dig her pieces:
The brand doesn’t cater to trends and fads.
With a heartfelt passion for handmade leather goods, Augustine decided to take a month-long sabbatical to Seoul last year to school herself in the tricks of the trade under Japanese-American leather goods maker Chad Keane (whom she says taught himself the craft by ripping apart Hermes bags to find out how they were constructed). “Our society has cultivated a behaviour of disposing things easily (and) continuously chasing after new bags every season,” she adds. “But I want (my pieces) to be seen as timeless and have a distinct character. They are for people who don’t follow mainstream brands and trends blindly, and for those who understand the need to invest in pieces that withstand the test of time.”
The bags are designed to be functional.
There may only be two styles in her debut collection – a bucket bag ($480) and a triangle-shaped clutch ($390) – but these are the fruit of a laborious design process, and a reflection of her own sartorial choices. “I make bags that I would personally carry… for me, a bag needs to be functional, so I’ve made designs that allow people to store items well. For example, the bucket bag has four zippers on its front, while the drawstring compartment has a little pocket in the lining where you can store your mobile phone or card holder.” And that’s not all: The bucket bag also comes with adjustable shoulder straps so it doubles up as a backpack, while the clutch has a removable leather strap so it can be turned into a cross-body bag.
Each piece takes one week to produce.
Once an order comes in, the bag is made from scratch by a local craftsman, which is why it takes a longer time for it to reach its buyer. The materials used are of the highest quality, too: Both bags are made of full cow leather that’s supple, lightweight and durable (which Augustine pays “a premium price for”), while the zippers used are from Japanese supplier YKK and will not tarnish or become dull – and are reportedly also found in bags by top fashion brands like Loewe. Shop online now at www.augustinegoods.com