4 Things you need to know about handbags By designer Kat van Duinen
The luxury and exotic leather goods designer shares how to choose – and take care of – the perfect bag.
1Buy these basics
I love big bags for daytime. Choose a large black leather tote that can hold everything from phones and tablets to makeup. Also, carry a mediumsized clutch inside your tote that you can simply take out when going for lunch or a quick meeting.
Miniature box clutches are trendy and great for evenings. Try a minimalist style with a simple and structured shape in shades of white, black or brown.
2 Go exotic
Reptile ( like snake and crocodile), ostrich and stingray are exotic leathers that can last up to 10 years or more if taken care of correctly.
Luxurious, supple and resilient, each skin is different, much like a human fingerprint, and it can take up to a few days to produce a single bag by hand. Ostrich is my favourite exotic leather to work with. It’s the strongest and has the most distinctive pattern. I always make sure that the skins I use are sourced from the farms of certified suppliers.
Take care of your bag as if it were your child. Don’t just throw it on the ground, place it on a seat in your car or use a table hook when out at a restaurant.
Be careful when drinking tea, coffee and red wine, as these stain badly.
Clean the outside of and the inner lining with a damp cloth. If the lining is suede, use the suede cleaner that you use on your shoes. And store in a dust-proof bag to avoid marks and scuffs.
4 Invest and save
Compared to fast fashion buys that won’t last over time, an investment buy on a luxury handbag will save you money in the long run. “You can’t afford cheap products if you don’t have much to spend,” as my grandfather always said. So you’ll end up spending more money fixing items that are easily damaged than if you bought two to three quality products that last several years.
Also, look to vintage shops. ‘ Pre- owned’ doesn’t mean less amazing.