Desti Saint: the woman behind the label

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You can feel the energy of Desti Saint as soon as she steps into the room. Despite jetlag from her recent trip to the Pure London trade show and a rush from a morning supplier meeting at Bukit Timah, there’s hardly a trace of tiredness as she enthusiastically shows me some of the latest samples for her eponymous handbag label.

“This one was so popular that we had to do a second version,” she says of a bag featuring goat hair, which has a design intricately hand-etched into it. Each piece has a unique design but they share a few characteristics: finest quality leather, the Desti Saint tassel and a bright but practical purple lining.

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It’s the commitment to creating unique pieces which has made this Singaporean label a success with women who want to express their individuality. Distinctive media personalities Anita Kapoor, Angelique Teo and Linda Black have all signed on as brand ambassadors.

Perhaps the brand’s character comes from its unusual beginnings. Desti started out in Hong Kong doing ‘the usual things’ in finance, before motherhood and a stint in fashion export. The challenge of finding a bag in the right shade of gold prompted her to start producing her own designs – a recreation which turned into a serious business when she moved to Singapore in 2009.

Still based in Singapore, Desti is a PR and considers herself firmed rooted there. While the label is starting to find success internationally, partly thanks to efforts by Design 2000 Singapore and TaFF, her focus is to grow in Singapore first before expanding. She’s also very upbeat about the potential of local fashion talent and consumer demand for creativity, citing events like Blueprint and Carrie’s Keepers (a regular event by emerging accessories label Carrie K that Desti Saint will feature in this month) as evidence of a growing fashion scene.

One thing savvy fashionistas will appreciate is that these limited edition bags make a limited dent on your wallet. Even the full-leather hand-crafted designs come in at under $300USD, making a splash without splashing out.

The Desti Saint label also wins kudos from us for their anti-wastage production. The beautiful envelope clutch from the Artisan collection was inspired by a jacket made out of leather offcuts that would otherwise be thrown away. It’s also proved to be a bestseller and will be made available in three new vibrant colours soon.

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Find your Desti Saint handbag in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand or the UK by visiting one of the stockists listed here. We’ll also be shooting an editorial – watch out for it soon!

photography thanks to Kiaan Communiations

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