Nana: Fashion has infinite possibilities, and new power is born from it. As a carrier of culture and times, fashion encompasses everything. From trendy to traditional culture, from celebrities, idols to everyone’s daily life, and from West to East, it is our discourse, our power, our time. Through Asian Voice, we hope to spread the local Asian fashion culture to the world by moving cross languages and borders.
In this edition of ASIAN VOICE, we welcome Cafuné, a handbag brand from Hong Kong founded by Queenie Fan and Day Lau in 2015. Envisioning the tender act of running your fingers through a cherished one’s hair. This seemingly ordinary gesture transforms into the fundamental essence that inspires the founders. With their simplistic yet distinctive designs, they embody the profound emotional bond between a handbag and its owner, celebrating the narrative of love woven into each accessory. While each creation exudes an understated elegance, the founders possess an unwavering commitment to meticulousness and an ardent appreciation for genuine craftsmanship. Cafuné’s fusion of timeless traditions and contemporary aesthetics serves those with an independent spirit, an inquisitive nature, and a penchant for thoughtful and deliberate choices. It caters to the imaginative and creative souls of individuals.
Nana: Can you please tell us about what inspired you to start the brand and why you decided you start it together?Day Lau: Cafuné was founded by Queenie and myself in 2015. After graduation, Queenie was working in the US as a handbag designer and she experienced first-hand the boom in contemporary handbag segment during then. There was a strong demand for affordably priced, well-designed and well-made accessories. We thought this is an opportunity that can be explored in Asia. As we have different experiences and different skills set, we decided to join force and start Cafuné together.
Nana: Why you decide to name your brand CAFUNÉ, meaning “the gesture of brushing through a loved one’s hair” in Portuguese initially?Day Lau: We like the tactile, gentle feeling of this action of brushing through a loved one’s hair. It’s a simple gesture, but often packed with emotion, and we strongly value the emotional connection between a handbag and its wearer, because there is a story behind every accessory. The word is not translatable to other languages, making it unique, but it is also simple enough to be universally remembered.
Nana: The brand is both modern and trendy while maintaining a classic feel. Can you talk to our readers about the brand’s aesthetic concept and the story behind it?Day Lau: Our design takes strong inspiration from art, nature and organic forms. For example, Spring/Summer 2023 is inspired by German photographer Karl Blossfeldt’s plant photography, especially how he captures close-up the organic and sometimes unexpected details of plants.
Nana: What do you imagine a woman carrying CAFUNÉ to be like in your mind?Day Lau: Someone with an independent mind, who is curious, who makes mindful and conscious decisions.
Nana: As a bag brand, what is CAFUNÉ’s special feature in terms of materials?Day Lau: As a leather accessories brand, our focus is finding the best, and most sustainable leather. Every season we visit Italy’s biggest leather fair to meet with suppliers and learn about the production process. The sustainable leather we use currently is from a Gold-rated tannery certified by Leather Working Group. It is made with minimal environmental impact.
Nana: By emphasizing craftsmanship and paying close attention to detail, CAFUNÉ showcases its artisanal side. Can you provide some specific examples that illustrate this?Day Lau: From choosing the right material for each design, to the construction of the handbag, down to the distance of between each stitch, we work closely with the craftsmen to make sure the design can be perfectly presented.
Nana: Is social media playing an important part as the marketing strategry?Day Lau: Social media gives us a lot of space to convey brand information and share design concepts from multiple angles. For example, seasonal inspiration, product details, photoshoot BTS etc. We can also interact directly with customers on social media, bringing us closer to them so as to better understand their needs and preferences. But we also value in person experience, and this can be achieved through pop ups.
Nana: Do you have any other recommendations for fashion brands or bag brands that impressed you a lot?Day Lau: My personal favourite brand is Patagonia, I think they set a great example on responsible production. And they also spend a lot of resources on educating and spreading the message, helping us become responsible consumers.
Nana: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting their own business in the fashion industry just like you?Day Lau: Stay true to your vision, don’t be afraid to ask others for advice.
Stay true to your vision, don’t be afraid to ask others for advice.