Elisabeth Kwan

Origami, with its deceptive simplicity, is one of accessory designer Elisabeth Kwan’s current influences. It is a perfect analogy for her work: skillfully crafted yet minimalist pieces in natural materials.

After being drawn to design during Fashion Technology classes at school, Elisabeth studied fashion at AUT. After graduation, she worked closely with Adrian Hailwood. Now, as part of design collective Creative Common Occupation, her designs are sold in pop-up stores as well as via online platforms. Though her current focus is leather accessories, Elisabeth has also explored print and clothing design, and considers that there is potential in the future to release a clothing label.

Elisabeth works with New Zealand-made materials – primarily leather, but occasionally silk and wool – to experiment with different textures and patterns. Her accessory explorations began when she made a leather phone case for her new phone. She fell in love with the material and since then she has been constantly finding new ways to work with it. A series of understated, elegant clutches in soft metallic leathers are her most defining items. These are proof that functional can be beautiful.

Text by Arielle Walker. Banner image © Elisabeth Kwan.

Last published October 2014.

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