Posted on | June 11, 2012 | No Comments
This week I interviewed the lovely Emmaline Ranzman the hottest bag designer of the moment. She was born in Taipei and spent her childhood hopping between Hawaii, New York and Hong Kong. She studied marketing and art history at NYU. Emm designed for Catherine Malandrino and Stephen Burrows before starting her own accessories brand last year.
Emm, tell us how you got started in the handbag business? And if you weren’t a handbag designer and had to choose any other job, what would it be?
I’ve always loved working with leather and took a few accessories classes when I was at Parsons School of Design. Then when I was assisting at Catherine Malandrino I was working on a lot of accessories for her, from shoes to bags to jewellery and just really loved the whole experience. So when I decided to start my own brand, handbags seemed like a good place to start.
Tell us about you spring/summer 2012 collection, which bag do you love most from your line right now and why?
S/S 2012 was inspired by a trip I took to Punta del Este. I stayed at a small beach town called Jose Ignacio, and was so inspired by the colors of the ocean, and the clean and modern architecture of the homes there. Each season, I name a bag after a favorite place I’ve been and this season my favorite bag is the Calle Bahia crossbody. I named it after the street we stayed on in Jose Ignacio. It’s the perfect size to go from day to night and it’s structured, but still easy to wear.
What types of materials do you use and why?
I love playing with textural and color contrasts. I use a lot of luxurious materials like python and alligator and I’m always on the lookout for interesting materials. This season we mixed crocodile with stingray.
What is your design philosophy?
It’s really important to be true to myself and have my own voice, but also be aware of whats going on in the market. I tend to lean towards modern and architectural aesthetics.
Tell us where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when designing a new collection?
I love traveling and usually am inspired by my various travels. I especially love people watching, and the unique personal style each city or place has.
What essential advice would you give to someone who wanted a career in bag designing?
Be sure of your own style and be persistent! Apprentice with designers that you admire and look up to. You’ll gain tremendous knowledge by working in the industry.
How do you describe your personal style?
Modern, downtown, and vintage. I love experimenting and trying different things. I never wear something just because it’s “popular”. I love mixing high end pieces like Chanel or Givenchy with great finds at Zara or vintage shops. And I tend to lean towards things that are slightly unconventional and more forward thinking.
What are the three things you cannot live without?
My grandmother’s engagement ring, my leather jacket (it’s like my second skin) and my passport (an absolute must).
As final note when can we expect Emm Kuo in Holland?
Hopefully next year! But now our collection is available online at Alley Cat Trade: http://www.alleycattrade.com/index.php/emm-kuo.html