CHia New York designer June Chang is no stranger to the details- as a child, it was her grandmother who taught her of their importance- and it was June's early introduction to this facet of design that has undoubtedly led to her impressive contributions to the handbag scene since the debut of her first collection, a mere two years ago. Vintage charm, modern sensibility, and a dash of European flair lend a one-of-a-kind feel to her handbags and clutches, while luxurious Italian leather and gold tone hardware demonstrate the remarkable quality her handbags maintain, collection after collection. We talked to June about her start in the handbag industry, the designers she loves most, and what she has in store for CHia New York. Click the slideshow, read on for the interview, and then scroll down to find out how you can enter to win a CHia handbag (worth over $500) for yourself!Stylehive: Where do you get ideas for your handbag designs?
June Chang: I get my ideas for my handbag designs from my grandmother's vintage and her own designed jewelry collections. My grandmother was a jewelry designer. As a child, she always encouraged me to study the small intricacies in accessories as well as the different colors and textures that make a piece unique. I love incorporating unique materials into my designs to create contrasts but also at the same time to reach a balance so each style is not overly designed.
Stylehive: How do you find new inspiration for each bag, each collection?
June Chang: I find my new inspiration for each collection by traveling or going to art exhibitions. I travel 4 times a year. I always have my notepad, pencils, sketch book, and camera with me to catch any special moments. I love to visit local markets, churches, temples and galleries wherever I visit. I love taking pictures of anything that has caught my attention and review all the images the same night to find any interesting inspiration for my collections.
Stylehive: How did you get your start in handbags?
June Chang: My grandmother was not only a jewelry designer; she was also a vintage jewelry and handbag collector. As a child, I used to sketch her collections while waiting for my mom to pick me up after work. My grandmother always asked me to point out the focal point on every piece and if that also turned out on my sketch, even those small intricacies. That was my first click with handbags. Therefore, designing handbags was my only thought when I decided to go with my intuition.
Stylehive: Who are some of your favorite handbag designers/designers in general?
June Chang: Handbag designers: Valextra and Judith Leiber. Fashion designers: Comme des Garcons by Rei Kawakubo and Lyell by Emma Fletcher.
Stylehive: Describe your latest collection.
June Chang: My latest Spring '09 collection is called "Empower." It was inspired by the vintage perfume bottles I collected on my trip to Venice in 2003. The vivid, jewel-like colors, curvy silhouettes and rich textured leathers are the key elements of my collection. CHia New York aspires to empower woman to feel confident and feminine just like her favorite perfume.
Stylehive: What are some of your future plans and goals for CHia?June Chang: I truly feel that fashion accessories play such an important role in our life. The mission of CHia is not only creating beautiful and practical fashion accessories designs, but also making those designs into reality with superior craftsmanship. I'm currently learning and working on a mission with my grandmother €“ creating a contemporary fashion jewelry collection under CHia New York in the future. My goals for CHia are making a woman fall in love with our collections and feel good about herself when she is wearing CHia.***Want to win the CHia New York 'Yarnie' handbag (a $517 value), pictured above? Follow the instructions below:Go to the CHia New York website: www.chiainc.net. Click on Collections, and tell us which handbag (style AND color) is your favorite, and why.We'll pick a winner on Friday, so enter now! Good luck!Shopping tip: CHia New York handbags are now available for purchase on StefaniBags.com!