I was first introduced to designer Minling Pan’s work at a media event last fall. Her work on handbags were unique, fun and sophisticated. The attention to detail had caught my eye. I’m a fan of details as it says a lot about a person and the designer. (I swear one day I’m going to write a post about the psychology behind handbags) But for me, the handbag is not just a means to carry stuff I need to get on with my day or evening — it is also a statement.
Minling’s work reflects personality. Each piece in her MIN collection can be a conversation starter at any soiree! And I’m obsessed! I had the opportunity to chat with Minling about what inspires her and what she thinks about “it bags”
I have been influenced a lot by my father, who is a ceramic artist. A big part of the Chinese ceramic is “traditions”. Most of my dad’s works are related to tradition and culture. Having grown up with all the traditional influences, I was always curious to know and experience the western culture. I wanted to go far, so I chose Canada. Why fashion? Because I don’t like maths. I wanted to learn something exciting and interesting. Just a very simple thought.
When designing handbags where do you look for inspiration?
This is both an easy and a difficult question. Life is a big part. It could be my daughter, a song, photography, a piece of dessert, or a game; for instance, the colorful bejeweled leather clutch was inspired by the game “Candy Crush”. I also keep a close eye on technology.
What would you want fashionistas to really know about you, and your designs?
Five years ago, I immigrated through the Federal Skill Workers program and I finally called “Canada” my HOME. I don’t follow trends but create my own personality style. That’s why I fit in well in this multi-cultural country. Compared to a lot of famous brands, I do see my designs very competitive: unusual, eye-catching, polished, well-made, and well-priced. I wanted to create the “moments” that people will ask “where did you get that bag?”
I have a habit of collecting different shapes of bottles ranging from coffee containers, milk bottles, wine bottles, perfume and cologne bottles, jars etc. I am always addicted to glassware because of the shapes and the texture of the materials.
What are your feelings about “it bags” ?
I do believe a lot of people invest in an “it bag” because they value quality; however, I started to see younger generation buying “it bag” simply because they want a “branded” bag. Some even spend more than they could afford and max out their credit cards. To me, each bag lives a life regardless its price. Having your personality style doesn’t mean you need to own some luxury products; investing in the best quality that you could afford is the key.
Technically, ceramic art and handbag design have a few aspects in common – aesthetics, proportions, details. My dad pays a lot of attention to details because he thinks that details reflect a designer’s mind and only details can distinguish one’s style.
What is your favourite Chinese proverb?
水滴石穿 (translate: constant water drops can go through a stone)
Constant effort brings success.
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