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THE ETHAN K STORY

About ETHAN K

 

“I have always been fascinated by not just the bags themselves, but also by their movement and the many ways of seeing and utilizing a bag. A luxury handbag evokes so much fantasy.”

Origins

 

A CHANCE ENCOUNTER

Like many of the best stories, Ethan’s began with a compelling chance encounter. In the early 1900s, his great-grandfather boarded the Singapore-bound steam train to return home after a long stretch in Malaysia where he worked as a fisherman. To pass the long hours on the journey, he struck up a conversation a British gentleman, who turned out to be an esteemed artisan who specialised in exotic skin tanning. The rest, as they say, is history.

THE KNOW HOW

The Tannery where Ethan grew up at the back of the family home.

Ethan’s great-grandfather opened an exotic skin tannery in Singapore and since then, the family spans four generations, been the privileged custodians of a century-spanning dynasty of highly skilled Singaporean tanning artisans.

 

The production and craftsmanship of exotic skin is has been running through the family’s DNA. They take great pride in the fact that Ethan is the only designer of exotic skin handbags who has spent his formative years exploring this majestic, time-honoured craft in a family-owned tannery.

 

When he was a child, his father and grandfather would often take him to the workshop located at the end of our garden. Surrounded by the rich perfume of leather and hide, he grew up learning about the delicate art of preservation and the laborious processes needed to transform a skin into a finished leather that will withstand the test of time.

PERFECTION

Over the years, the members of the Koh family, have invented and pioneered countless unique processes for treating leather and exotic skin. Their exacting standards have unquestionably raised the bar for the entire industry. For example, the revolutionary agate-polishing bombe shine technique was the first in the trade that could achieve a vivid spectrum of colours on the leather. This technique, so ahead of its time, would later prove to be a huge draw among Ethan K couture collectors. Today, the same exacting eye for detail remains with every single Ethan K bag created, to ensure that each handbag is a one-of-a-kind work of art that the owner will always feel proud to carry.

‘LUXURY IS MORE THAN A STATUS SYMBOL’

THE HOUSE

Drawing on his family’s savoir faire, Ethan turned his maison in Knightsbridge in London into an increasingly elitist institution with an international clientele. He was the first Asian designer to be present in the ground floor at Harrods using only precious materials. He also pioneered the use of semi precious stones with handbags that were functional, laying the foundations for the brand as we know it today together with the emblematic hedgehog which was described as ‘full on glamour for a rarefied clientele’ by Suzy Menkes that she published in the New York Times, in November 20, 2013.

 

More iconic chapters for Ethan K followed as he worked with Mellerio Dits Meller, the most historic jeweller at Place Vendome in Paris which spans 15 generations. They presented the unique piece in Emerald Green Crocodile with a stunning brooch closure with its unique mechanism, decorated with

 

• Blue/Green tourmaline 3,43ct,
• 10 Tsavorites 1,21ct,
• 5 pink Sapphires 0,67ct,
• 5 Spessartites garnets 0,75ct,
• 40 diamonds 0,09ct,
• Green enamel.

 

The object first debuted in Ritz Paris followed by a spectacular reception at the French Ambassadors Residence in London.

 

Today, the house embarks on a new chapter, introducing full leather articles as ‘Essentials’, candles and scents which explores further into the unique spirit and universe of Ethan K.

CLIENTELE

The Tannery where Ethan grew up at the back of the family home.

Since it’s founding in 2011, Ethan K has been a favourite with collectors, celebrities, and many illustrious artists, captains of industry, heads of state or royals have sported its works of art. The names of the leading personalities can be found in our archives as well, which keeps track of our notable orders.

 

Upon reading the files, one may daydream easily about the extraordinary and unlikely encounters that have taken place around the world: Princess Beatrice and Eugenie of York, Duchess of York, Jennifer Lopez, Hailey Bieber, Sofia Richie, Carina Lau…

 

The above is highly emblematic of Ethan’s unique ability to build long term relationships with its clientele, whether they are famous or anonymous. It is not uncommon for Ethan K customers to have accounts that remain active for decades. From the ‘Duchess bag’ which was first spotted at the royal enclosure at the Royal Ascot, to the Alla bag with the patented trapdoor, the stories continue to enchant our collectors with countless pieces in different variations their wardrobe collection.

THE EMBLEMATIC EDGEHOG

The intrepid garden creature, beloved by many for its courageous spirit, has been an iconic emblem of adventure for Ethan K since 2013.

 

Inspired by the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen, the hedgehog has been represented in different gold and silver forms and also with semi precious stones such as Malakite, Tiger Eye and African Jade.