The uber stylish duo Namrata Daduney and Emma Reyna’s handbag label Ahikoza, encompasses the most beautiful, fantastical, futuristic, imaginative riotous range of colors and exotic skins much to the puzzlement and chargin of those who play it by the book.
Influenced by travel, culture and architecture, this handbag designer duo channeled their passion for bags into their very own label Ahikoza. Python skins gleaming with a metallic finish, handcrafted with straight lines and a graphic design aesthetic ensure luxury with an exotic edge. I am besotted by the array of colors and can’t wait to customize mine.
Namrata tells me about their handbag journey and what went in it’s making.
Your childhood dream…
Amongst many childhood dreams, me and my co founder Emma Reyna share a 15 year friendship and always wanted to start a label together. When the opportunity and timing proved right, a mutual love, passion and appreciation for the craft of handbags lead to the inception of Ahikoza. Each piece carries some of our spirit. Influences come from various travels, different backgrounds, architecture and anything that inspires us. Design and an eye for fashion was second nature for both the founders. And they bonded over a love for handbags.
Your fashion design background…
I studied Media and Communications in Australia, and Fashion Business and Merchandising in Melbourne School of Fashion. Emma studied Commerce in Melbourne University, and went on to partner in a series of projects in the fashion space. She currently owns a bespoke bakery called Sugarbites, and previously founded a fashion e commerce site curating jewelry called – Speakfashion.
We wanted a name that simply captured the core vision for the brand. That is, a streamline collection that focused on minimally treated exotic skins, which showcased high quality craftsmanship and the beauty of the skins itself. After much research, and having close roots & ties to India, we came across the Sanskrit words Ahi and Koza, which literally means the cast of snakeskin.
Each handbag of Ahikoza is unique, producing only select pieces of each design and color. Therefore no two items produced will be identical, due to the natural scaling of the skins, and the scarcity of materials. From personally sourcing to quality control, the founders oversee every stage of production. The collection is produced in limited quantities to uphold they’re commitment to premium quality, and authenticity in design.
The evolution of your label …
We both loved exotic skins for its uniqueness. Its not like commercial leather, where stitching and aesthetic, and lines are similar. Each piece, and scale is different for every bag. This adds a certain value. Exotic skins also need specialist treatment and craftsmanship. The natural scaling and weight of these skins are so delicate. All our pieces are handcrafted, so to attain the standard of quality we felt so strongly about was difficult. A lot of trail and error, and we didn’t move forward until we perfected our product. But with the right team and handcrafters, we were able to master the production process. With highly valued attention to detail, and each bag is treated like our first. We also value our team and the work that goes behind each piece. A very niche skillset and hours of dedication.
We are involved in each part of the process from sourcing, design to quality control. And pride ourselves of investing a part of ourselves in each piece. Skins are sourced worldwide depending on collection, and color pallate for them varies depending on season. We also offer bespoke services, and working closely with our clients is one of our favorite aspects of the business.
Each piece is treated like our first, and we try and cater as close to the clients desired customizations and color preferences.
Your aspirations as a designer…
Our aspirations as designers include maintaining our brand philosophy and premium quality, but also to offer new collection additions to our valued clientele. Coming up with new designs that are innovative and clutter breaking, but also true to the ahikoza aesthetic. Effortless style, with discreet luxury consumption.
The woman you design for…
We design for the confident, sophisticated, and chic woman who values the concept of understated luxury. She loves to travel, loves to read and finds herself inspired by the sensory experiences that surround her. She doesn’t feel the need to follow every trend and knows what works and what doesn’t when it comes to her personal style.
Your favorite skins and colors you would recommend…
We both tend to sway towards the more classically treated python skins that have a natural feel to them but an element of surprise such as a pop of color or metallic finish. We love the contrast between the neutral calf leather set off with metallic python skins as can be seen on our Spencer fold overs and the gem like shapes of our Madison minaudieres that look amazing in bright jewel tone colors.
We like to define our design aesthetic as that which has a strong foothold in classic shapes and clean lines with modern and contemporary flair. We love that accessories right now are becoming more daring and diverse in terms of design, range as well as use. They have the ability to complement and complete your entire look.
If you had to design one thing you have not what would it be?
We love designing smaller accessory pieces so the next thing we’d love to delve into is designing mobile phone covers, which in recent years have become a statement accessory in itself. We feel the quality selection of skins on that smaller space to work with, combined with the detailed craftsmanship we offer, would look amazing.
What’s next for Ahikoza…
We plan to expand our product line with different collections & designs that play on different combinations of color, materials and textures for a new take on exotic skins. We’re launching our new minaudiere designs, namely the Sierra & Gigi this summer that have a dierent look from our current range but still very much embodies the Ahikoza essence. We also plan to introduce new products that include, but are not limited to mobile phone covers, laptop covers, tech accessories and travel ware.