From Parasite to Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, this bag brand has been on screen a lot

PHOTO: Biker Starlet

Growing up, Jacey Chae witnessed how hard her parents worked, running a private womenswear boutique that made custom designs from engagement party pieces to congressmen wives’ daywear.

So she told herself not to get involved in fashion.

“I’ve always been a good writer and painter,” she tells. “Naturally I thought about going into journalism or advertising, and never once fashion.”

But things took a change in the 2000s when she couldn’t find any clutches or small bags in Seoul that were fit for parties. 

“I wanted something reasonably priced, so I can buy multiples and rotate them,” she says.

Thankfully, she found some options under the recommendation of her Thai friend when she was on a trip to Bangkok. She brought a couple of bags back to Seoul to sell to her close friends and they were well received.

“Soon after this, the bag-making business became my day job,” she shares.

The creative director of Biker Starlet lets us in on where she gets her inspiration, how she plans to improve sustainability in her business as well as her plans for growth in Singapore.

What Biker Starlet means

Jacey shares: “Biker sounds rough and edgy, Starlet elegant and feminine. Put them together and it still makes sense as a word. It also becomes something wild but pretty, and I loved the sound of it as well.

These two contrasting concepts clash with each other and it just seemed perfect because all women are multi-layered and complex.”

The designs are always relevant

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One look at Biker Starlet bags and you’ll notice that they are all striking, but never over the top. Jacey says she digs through old trends and styles to “translate the old into the new because trends run themselves over and over again”.

Biker Starlet has been on big and small screens

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Her polished and practical pieces have been spotted in K-dramas such as Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, and even films like the award-winning Parasite.

Inspiration comes from the streets

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Jacey loves people-watching for inspiration. “There’s this place – one of the generic American coffee chains – in Seoul where I sit for hours. You get to pick up the latest fashion trends in real-time.”

Biker Starlet is doing its part for the environment

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Jacey considers how her products and manufacturing process affects the earth and hopes to adopt more eco-friendly ways for her business.

“I plan to change all our shipping tape to paper tape and use biodegradable poly bags by late next year,” she reveals. “It’s probably a touchy subject because we use mostly leather and leather tanning is not exactly environmentally friendly.”

The challenge? Looking for alternative and more sustainable materials

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“There is still a large demand for leather bags, so it’s always been an issue for us to incorporate sustainability. I plan to introduce more sustainable products made with alternative materials in the next few years.”

There are plans to reopen the Singapore store

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Going forward, Jacey looks forward to reopening her store and meeting her Singapore customers whom she considers as friends.

The health-conscious creative director also plans to add a lounge area to her store: “I’d like to create a space that can connect our products with wholesome foods and beverages.”

From $249, at Commune Wear and www.sg.communewear.com

ALSO READ: Your ultimate guide to Song Hye-kyo's iconic style

This article was first published in Herworld.

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