Brooklyn-based designer, Vincent Lai, creates cool, minimal canvas tote bags under his label “Skinny Vinny” which are now available at Konzepp in Sheung Wan… Sassy Blogger Marisa got the inside scoop from Vinny on his design process and what is going to make the Skinny Vinny bag a Sassy girl staple!
How did you come up with the name Skinny Vinny?
Skinny Vinny is a nickname my friends use to tease me with back in High School. I told them I’ll use it one day for something.
What makes your concept unique?
Our bags are all designed from a product designers point of view. They’re functionally driven rather than decorative. We craft bags that use architectural and geometrical shapes along with little details like hidden pockets and contrasting trim colors. We really stress clean lines and proportions. We want the bags to be comfortable when carried as well as comfortable to the eye.
Why is canvas your choice of material?
I enjoy the versatility and ease of cotton canvas. Canvas is known to be a very casual textile, but when paired with different accents, it can have a formal vibe as well. We have a clutch bag that we are working on and we paired the canvas with patent leather trim details that really added a new level of sophistication to the look.
What is your design approach?
I always find myself thinking about new bags, new shapes and new ways of carrying things. I can be out with friends and I find myself drifting off thinking about it. I love people watching, watching how one interacts or stumble with their bags is a huge source of inspiration for me. How the bag falls or hugs the body, or what problems they seem to have with their bags is very helpful to my process. Through watching, I usually have a direction and sketching helps me find the right shape and proportions. I sometimes make quick and fast muslin samples just to test out the proportions and usability. Then I jump on my computer to refine the design and make the tech packs. I won’t really know if the bag is successful or not until I get a final working sample. After the sample is approved, the bags are produced in small batches. I inspect and package each bag myself.
What are your future plans for Skinny Vinny?
We are coming out with laptop bags — many people have been asking us for a laptop bag and we’ve begun to push it. Also we are going to continue to expand our ties and wallet collection.
Which bag would you recommend for Sassy girls in Hong Kong this Fall?
The Sal convertible bag is my favorite for Fall. The functionality of it and versatility of the design is quite successful in my opinion. You can carry it four different ways. It has been quite popular.
How did your bags start selling in HK?
Earlier this year, I took a month long trip to Asia. I traveled back and forth between Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul looking in stores where I thought my line would be a perfect fit. When I was in Seoul, I was contacted by the Hong Kong store Konzepp, who stressed an interest in my bags and wallets. At that time, the shop was still under construction so it was great to be part of the process as they established themselves. Konzepp has been great to work with and I’m so happy that they’re doing so well. I was honored that they chose to represent the entire range of Skinny Vinny products in their innovative store.
Skinny Vinny bags are handcrafted in Brooklyn, NY in limited quantities and they range in price from around HK450-1500
Skinny Vinny is available at Konzepp, 50 Tung Street, Sheung Wan.