Handbags instantly elevate any outfit. Pair a striking parakeet green bag to an all-black outfit, and it instantly spruces up the entire look. Or opt for a nude, effortlessly chic bag that goes with every look.
In the handbag edition of our ONzz Malaysian Urban Brands Online series, we bring you six exciting local brands to check out for your next handbag.
When Christy Ng was 17, she worked as a waitress, which meant she spent long hours walking. However, she could not afford high-quality shoes that were comfortable for her to stand in for hours. As a result, a corn formed on her foot, and it was so serious that she had to get surgery to remove it. One piece of advice her doctor gave her? Stop wearing poorly made shoes, as they were causing her problems. But it was easier said than done, as Ng could not find any comfortable shoes that she could afford.
Hence, she made it her mission to create affordable yet high-quality shoes and bags that any woman can enjoy. She succeeded, because today, her eponymous brand is known for just that. Christy Ng makes shoes and bags for any lifestyle – whether you’re a university student or a corporate high-flyer. Their gorgeous bags usually cost less than RM150 each, and usually come with an option for customisation.
Another mainstay of Christy Ng’s brand is their canvas tote bag, which comes in two sizes and a delightful range of designs. Keep a lookout for the special-edition designs that they do for occasions and collaborations, because they sell out real quick!
Probably one of the most prolific Malaysian designers (Princess Diana was supposedly a fan!), Jimmy Choo is first and foremost known as a shoemaker but we have to say, their bags are just as stunning. There are various styles for different occasions too, whether you are headed to a glamorous evening gala or on a getaway to a lush tropical island.
We especially recommend Jimmy Choo if you’re a fan of sparkle – their bags often feature eye-catching glitter and embellished crystals.
Since the 1970s, Bonia has been the brand to go to for quality leather goods such as bags and shoes. As you’ve probably seen your mum and aunts carry this bag, you may think of the brand as dated. However, Bonia has recently undergone a revamp and they are now back with a bang!
Their playful new designs pay homage to both Malaysia and Bonia’s past, such as this adorable tiffin-shaped bag that’s reminiscent of tiffin food carriers from yesteryear and re-imagined rattan top-handle that was first released in the 90s.
A portmanteau of the words “trendy” and “fancy”, Tracey was founded by Johnson Tan in 2008. When his wife was struggling to find the right bag to suit her organisational needs, Tan took matters into his own hands by creating an everyday handbag that would best serve her. As his initial prototypes were designed to be functional and to cater specially to women who may share the same organisational problems that his wife had, rest assured that one can find stunning, fashionable pieces that provide maximum practicality.
Tracey boasts a comparatively affordable price range for its premium quality handbags, which are all 100% cruelty-free and vegan, made with polyurethane (PU) leather. To top things off, the brand is committed to elevating its environmental consciousness by looking into incorporating more sustainable materials to replace PU leather within the next several years.
Aside from their online store, Tracey handbags (plus clutches, backpacks, bucket bags, cross-body bags, wallets and more!) can be found at popular department stores nationwide, such as Parkson and Aeon.
For a unique statement handbag that hits a sweet spot between the city and the tropics, look no further than Repleat. Founded by Debbie Leung, Repleat is a local urban brand that merges modern and tropical designs into polypropylene bags, while the name itself is a fusion of the words “pleat”, “replete” and “repeat”.
Leung draws inspiration from geometric patterns, tessellations and various structures she encounters during her travels. How these influences translate into Repleat’s designs is clear at a first glance: The defining features of this label are its sculptural forms that are largely three-dimensional, playing with light and shadow and unusual textures.
Replete handbags are made from polypropylene, which allows the bag to mimic the crisp and clean folds of paper, like origami. As a result, the bags look intricate and delicate, but at the same time water-resistant and durable. Interlocking patterns, screws and fasteners help to keep its structure in place.
Materialipstick was established in 2015 by Charlyne Goh, Jong Wei Wei, Junees Toeh and Juwei Teoh, four Malaysian friends and design graduates who shared a dream. They wanted to make an impact in fashion by imparting confidence and chic, timeless styling through their line of handbags.
Materialipstick’s bags are crafted with genuine calf leather, canvas or suede. The brand’s standout is the Alyson collection, where the bags all feature a signature knot on its front flap that resembles the ketupat – a tribute to the Malaysian dish. Combine the touch of Malaysian flair with minimalism, elegance, versatility and palatable colours, and you’ve got yourself a charming accessory to elevate your look and feel confident and chic, just as Materialipstick intended!
With this handbag edition of the ONzz Malaysian Urban Brands Online series, Sunway Echo Media hopes its readers may celebrate our homegrown handbag designers who continue making waves in the local and global fashion industry while making us proud along the way!
Written by: Natalie, Michelle
Edited by: Jamie