Making their mark

Making their mark
Ms Goh Ling Ling, local fashion designer and founder of fashion label Ling Wu.

Goh Ling Ling, 40

Her label Ling Wu is known amongst fashionistas for practical yet edgy python skin bags, yet she arrives at our shoot carrying a croco bag.

She reveals that the luxe material will feature in her next collection. Another highlight: the Svelte Python range, which features python skin coated with rubber (so the bags are sturdier, yet retain a soft, luxurious texture).

Even better news: each of Ling's new bags will come with an iPad slot, a mini LED torch (so you do not have to rummage in the dark) and a little mirror (for quick touch-ups).

From these thoughtful touches, it is evident that being a working mother of three, juggling the roles of designer and entrepreneur, and part-time lecturer at Lasalle College of the Arts, has influenced her work.

Although her family is in the garment manufacturing business, she did not take the same path, deciding to pursue a career in graphic design instead.

"I grew up running around sewing machines because my father had set up a factory at home. The whole family had to sleep on the balcony for a few years," she says.

But a love for creating drew her into fashion. For four years, she designed lingerie under her label Fling.

But when she spotted a gap in the accessories market, she turned her focus to python skin bags in 2011.

"Either you pay $300 for a cheap python skin bag, or fork out $3,000 for one from a designer label. There was no alternative," she points out.

The most expensive piece from her latest collection is a hobo bag priced at a relatively affordable $1,200.

Here is a valuable tip from her on how to keep your snakeskin bag in tip-top shape: "Keeping your bag in storage for too long dries up the skin. Also, mould will grow. The more you use it, the more beautiful the skin becomes as the natural oils from your hands condition it."

Though she has built an international clientele - she shows her wares to international buyers at the Premiere Classe trade show in Paris - she wants to remain a champion of Asian talent and materials.

"Our python skin and craftsmen come from different parts of Asia, such as Indonesia, because I am very proud of our natural resources. I hope my label's success will tell the world that Asia has high-quality materials and talented people."

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