First, Succession introduced the iconoclastic term “ludicrously capacious”. Then, “quiet luxury” become a seasonal buzzword. Logos are seemingly exiled from the 2023 season, and it’s clear that the “less is more” movement is upon us. And as usual, celebrities are already on it. If your style arsenal is fed by celebrity looks, this brand sported by Nina Dobrev, Kylie Jenner and Gabrielle Union might be your lowkey answer to the humble handbag.
Introducing Aupen, a local, sustainable and ethical label that creates sculptural sidepieces that won’t break the bank. Away from logo play, Aupen’s designs are sculptural, colourful works of art, and are founded on the principles of mindfulness and self-care.
For a label that’s been in the market for less than a year, Aupen is already on the up and up. Aupen—a portmanteau of “authentic” and “open”—made its entry into the scene last September, under the leadership of Head of Concept Lydia Maurer, and Creative Director Skye Tan. The former boasts prominent prior experiences as artistic director for womenswear at Paco Rabanne and designer roles at Saint Laurent and Givenchy. The latter is a homegrown photographer who’s lensed fashion editorials, magazine covers, and global campaigns for high-profile brands like Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren. Now, the seasoned duo have come together to construct a brand with a creed close to their heart.
Exemplifying their namesake qualities, and championing the values of self-care and wellness, Aupen is a “heart-to-hand company”. Cruelty-free, its offerings are crafted in quality vegan leather and have factored in spatially-sound affordances for the everyday woman. And like how personality can boost one’s appeal, Aupen’s lines of handbags are as alluring. Core design principles echo the brand’s values of championing wellness. The Japanese concept of fukinsei, an aesthetic principle based on mood-boosting asymmetry, is visually recurrent throughout their releases. Craft is their medium of choice here, employed to semiotically reflect intent, acceptance and honesty in expression.
The latest release, Purpose, celebrates this. A representation of living with intention, and the acceptance of imperfections, its symmetry works to achieve a cutting-edge kind of contemporary.
On the brand, Head of Concept Maurer says, “Beyond fashion and style, we want Aupen to represent a community of honest and positive expression. Developed with wellness and self-care in mind, through Aupen we aim to encourage people to share their personal stories, be it good or bad, and inspire others to know that they’re not alone. It is the kind of platform that I wish I had when I was going through life changes earlier in my life.”
The new Purpose collection can be purchased from Aupen’s online store.