Since 2017, Singaporean designer Adrian Furstenburg has been creating one-of-a-kind luxury bags and leather goods for clients around the world, working with numerous airlines, banks and other corporate clients. We are talking about sustainability, customer satisfaction… and French leather!
For the uninitiated, could you tell us the motivation behind Adrian Furstenburg, the brand?
Co-creation is the number one pillar of our brand. Taking customers through a series of design dialogues, adding elements of their personality such as specific colors or symbols, using the best materials available, and then delivering them a bespoke designer handbag is one of the most great motivations. There really is nothing more gratifying than seeing the joy on their faces when they unbox something fabulous – and exclusive.
It is also important for us to be attentive to waste; this is why we produce our pieces on demand or by pre-order only. Fashion is a notoriously wasteful industry; billions of dollars of surplus products are lightly used or unsold before being sent to the incinerator – or even dumped in developing countries.
Going forward, we seek to use technology as a vehicle to provide customers with a fully tailored service, via a mobile device. We’re currently working on some really cool and innovative ways to recreate the “workshop” experience through augmented reality, hyper-realistic 3D renderings, and video consultations.
What is your inspiration for the design?
Flowers and architecture inspire our bag designs a lot. The aesthetic that inspires us can be found in many Singaporean icons like Gardens by the Bay and Jewel Changi Airport. Like those places, our leather bags are a blend of beauty and function, in a way you rarely find anywhere else.
As a brand that co-creates personalized luxury leather goods with our clientele, we draw a lot of inspiration from Singapore’s own identity in relation to its place in the world.
With an industry already saturated with designer handbags and leather bags and goods, what makes your brand unique?
We certainly can’t compete with the tastes of big luxury brands such as Chanel or Louis Vuitton. But we don’t try either. Instead, we have found our niche in offering a completely bespoke service, using the highest quality leathers and hardware, while taking our clientele on a journey of self-expression.
To give you a rough idea: if you wish, you can masterfully apply your children’s design which is on the fridge by branding on a black Epsom leather pouch with a thick gold chain, which opens to a striking interior that has room for an iPhone, lipstick, wallet, mask, hand sanitizer and more! All of this can be done and delivered in just four to six weeks.
How did you decide to use leather from France for your designer bags?
As mentioned, we are committed to using only the best materials, including hardware and zippers, even down to the polish that seals the edges of the leather. We generally apply heritage thinking to our brand philosophy; that means we select the best materials and hardware from places that have built a worldwide reputation for doing this thing exceptionally well.
If you want the best leathers, go to France or Italy; for the best material or the best zippers, Korea will be your best bet; and, if you want to run a global business from a place that runs like clockwork, Singapore is your answer!
What is the most memorable personalized leather bag you have designed?
Each piece is memorable in its own way – and it’s not just a cliché. It’s such a joy every time we witness the sheer delight in the eyes of our customers as they unbox their bags and instantly recognize traces of themselves or loved ones in the bag’s design.
A new bride once received her leather bag in her favorite shade of pink, which had a hand-painted wedding day item inside. And I also remember another woman opening her clutch to see her daughter’s design beautifully painted to match the leather lining she chose for the inside of the flap.
But among all the memorable customer stories, I would cite the time we had a request for a matching set of shoulder bags for a woman and her daughter. She specifically wanted the bags to be made in silver, iridescent crocodile skin that shimmered in rainbow colors. It was definitely a highlight!
Was there a limit you imposed on yourself when it came to customer requests – a point where you had to politely decline?
In true Renaissance fashion, we see ourselves as equal parts artists and inventors. We love pushing the boundaries of co-creation with our most valued customers and trying to bring that creative vision to life.
Sure, we have our own aesthetic sensibilities, but so far we’ve yet to meet a client whose requests have been so outlandish that we simply can’t and won’t.
What is the underestimated aspect of your job as a designer of luxury leather goods?
That the word luxury can mean so many different things to different people. For one person, having a leather clutch with a gem-encrusted handle in a rare exotic leather can create exactly the same feeling of excitement for someone who wants a work bag that has a specific slot for credit cards. visit. (We’ve all been in that position where we had to slam the bag and fumble for cards in front of a customer!)
In the future, would you consider extending your luxury leather goods to shoes?
Our team gets excited all the time thinking of new product ideas. But we spend a lot of time researching and analyzing carefully before we jump into anything. We want to establish a reputation for doing one thing incredibly well, before we even think about expanding outside our circle of expertise. Luxury comes from mastering one’s craft; it can never be half cooked.
If you could create a custom piece for one famous person, who would it be and why?
Our clients tend to be successful people with strong personalities and distinctive styles. I would love to design a work bag for Lee Hsien Loong, a stunning shoulder bag for Maye Musk, and the most extraordinary piece for Lady Gaga!
Did you enjoy reading about this feature? Enjoy more stylish items like this, like our second-hand buying guide!
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