About Katherine Kwei
Innovative design, exceptional quality, and a deep reverence for tradition are the foundation for accessories designer, Katherine Kwei's design philosophy. As a young girl, Kwei remembers spending afternoons with her grandmother folding wonton dumplings, knotting cords for necklaces filled with jade and precious stones, and looking over the intricate embroidery patterns of old quilts and robes. Kwei's grandmother who was a clothier "stylist" for silver screen legends Katherine Hepburn and Anthony Quinn, as well as a master at Chinese knotting, instilled in Kwei a deep reverence for her cultural roots and passion for working with her hands.
Kwei's fashion career began in Public Relations with Louis Vuitton in Hong Kong, spanning 14 countries in the Asia Pacific region, where she developed a deep respect and appreciation for exceptional quality and design. Her love of handbags, passion for design, and entrepreneurial spirit inspired her to start her own line. In 2002 she left the company to pursue a degree in accessories design, graduating with an M.A. in Design and Technology for Accessories from the prestigious London College of Fashion (Cordwainers). While in London, she worked with bespoke floral appliqué handbag designer Susannah Hunter, as well as the trendy Billy Bag Company. After moving to New York, Kwei completed a six-month internship with the famed Zac Posen, working on his handbag and accessories line for the Spring/Summer 2006 collection.
With the Spring/Summer 2007 launch of her own handbag line, Kwei's designs aspire to seamlessly blend modernity with tradition by creating her own unique texture using luxury materials, while staying true to her signature Chinese "Eternity" knot-inspired weave as the main focus.
Her goal is to create collections that are of outstanding quality and timeless designs - much like the art of Chinese knotting that she learned from her grandmother, which is integrated throughout her work.
Deeply ingrained in her heritage, Kwei draws much of her inspiration from her Chinese roots as well as her experiences from living globally in nine different cities including Athens, London, Dubai, Hong Kong, and New York. Her enthusiasm to create is not only limited to accessories; Kwei has won awards for batik and pottery, and is knowledgeable in other fields such as Natural Resources where she earned a B.S. from Cornell University.
Kwei's own style blends everything from luxury brands to vintage pieces to the latest street wear to create a polished yet chic and playful, figure-flattering silhouette. Her refined sensibility is reflected in her pieces appealing to a woman who is confident and secure in her own sense of style. Since her debut in Spring 2007, she has achieved just that and has kindled a following of well-heeled women and luxury boutiques, while catching the attention of a growing list of celebrities including Sienna Miller, Fergie (from the Black Eye Peas), Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, Eva Longoria, Eva Mendes, Cameron Diaz, Ashley Olsen, Maria Menounos, Taylor Momsen, Jessica Szohr and Olivia Palermo. Kwei is also the recipient of the 2007 IHDA award for "Best Handbag in Overall Style & Design" and the 2007 Harvard Business School "Specialty Plan" Award.