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KWANPEN Bag
KWANPEN Bag

The Art of Crafting Crocodile Leather Handbags and Accessories

Located far away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s business district, you’ll find a leather workshop that is home to some of the best craftsmen in the country. Since its establishment in 1938, all creations that emerge from this workshop have had to first meet the exacting standards set by the founder.

The workshop and brand focus solely on crocodile leather handbags and accessories, which are notoriously difficult to work with. Each craftsman working here must undergo a rigorous two-year apprenticeship program, under the watchful eye of a Master Craftsman with over 20 years experience, before they are allowed to work on the delicate leather.

A perfect result is paramount. This is why every single decision and change within the company is made with these questions in mind: how would this impact our products? Is it for the better?

The importance of these questions lies in the fact that crafting crocodile leather is, as mentioned previously, extremely difficult and drastically different to working with cow leather. The leather is sourced from some of the finest tanneries in the world, meaning that the material the craftsmen work with is extremely valuable from the start. Every single step in the making of one of these handbags or accessories requires exceptional skill and care. One wrong move or selection could result in compromising the leather, meaning it will not pass under the scrutiny of the craftsmen.

When the in-house team of designers produce new designs, they keep in mind both the potential and the limitations that crocodile leather can carry. The scale patterns are versatile and can be showcased in multiple ways. The signature method is to showcase them symmetrically by using the centre-cut to show off the beauty—but they can also be displayed in a more playful way by using an edge-cut. Regardless of the design, these creations must always be kept to a certain width, as the width cannot exceed that of the hide’s. The hardware and fittings must also adapt to the leather rather than vice versa.  

Within the workshop, craftsmen with a trained eye will assess the potential of a piece of leather once again before they proceed to the cut. Here they decide on the best use for each piece based on its unique scales, pattern and texture. As it can take up to three hides to make just one handbag, it will take many years of experience before a craftsman is able to mix and match pieces of leather together for a perfect end result. While the sourced leather is already pre-finished, the precious material goes through additional treatment and glazing in the workshop to ensure perfection. The process involves numerous difficult steps that have become trade secrets, passed from one generation to the next and finessed over time.

The assembly is done painstakingly by hand. During this process, the craftsman will feel the leather and inspect it with great care at every step until it reaches final inspection. It is not enough for the finished item to look good, it must also pass the test of time. Numerous precautions are taken at every stage to ensure that the crocodile leather creations stay in a pristine state not just within the workshop, but throughout the whole chain of distribution as well.

Due to the nature of this craft, the handbags and accessories are made in extremely limited numbers as these are the result of approximately 50 hours of labour and the best materials available. There are very few of each design and colour in the world, making these handbags true collectable pieces for those with a keen eye for luxury exotic leather.

To find out more about Crocodile Leather Handbags and Accessories visit www.KWANPEN.com

 

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