Sometimes returning to your roots can be life changing. It was for Kate Chan, who took a sabbatical from a successful career in real estate finance and visited the Philippines where she was born. This “coming home” journey inspired Chan to create a platform by which she could pursue her passion for fashion while aspiring to make a difference in people’s lives.
Today, the eponymous California-based accessories brand features handbags, minaudieres, jewelry and even upscale fans. Color palettes range from vivid yellows and oranges that evoke a tropical sunset to more neutral hues. All feature the region’s handwoven craftsmanship.
“My designs are so visceral,” says Chan. “I’m so fascinated with the design and the materials of the Philippines where I grew up. It was all triggered when I went home–the natural fibers, the sustainability. I am just creating from the heart and following my gut.”
Chan also makes sure that her customer know about the story behind the designs. “I have a hangtag about the natural and sustainable materials I use, as well as a five-fold postcard that represents our mission and purpose, as well as the women making the items. One thing that’s common in the collections is that it’s all hand crafted, handmade and done by helping women and communities.
One niche area that Chan explores in her brand are her striking wooden fans. “I used to collect fans as a kid, and there are very different approaches between an Asian fan and a Spanish fan. I always try to combine the East and the West. It’s not only a unique item, but women need a fan!”