Living in a Materialipstick world

IN THE year 1985, pop icon Madonna topped the charts with Material Girl, singing: “You know that we are living in a material world / and I am a material girl.” The song was quickly subjected to debate due to provocative lyrics portraying romantic relationships as mere tangible commodities in a capitalistic society.

It may well be argued that local bag brand Materialipstick shares the same polysemy with Material Girl, and its apparent duality drifts between irony and ambiguity based on how people pronounce its name.

Interestingly, these days the song has deviated from its original materialistic angle, and has been re-interpreted as a celebration of empoweriment for self-reliant women and independent minds.

Similarly, the ‘Materialipstick girl’ is a woman of substance, and free-spirited in her own right.

She is associated with class and elegance, graceful of mien, yet strong in presence just like the co-founders of Materialipstick – Junees Teoh, Jong Wei Wei and Charlyne Goh, who were later joined by Juwei Teoh.

“We are all avid bag lovers who graduated from design school, it is our biggest dream and accomplishment to witness our designs come into life on the streets,” said Junees.

Founded in 2015, the label combines three elements into its brand name Materialipstick – ‘mate’, which symbolises the friendship of 15 years between the girls, quality ‘material’ in all of its bags, and ‘lipstick’, which is a must-have for every woman to elevate her charm and confidence.

“A bag can say a thousand words about a woman. It can give you an idea of a woman’s sense of style, age and character,” explained Wei Wei.

“At the same time it can also convey the exact opposite of your initial judgment about her. This is why every woman has more than one bag, it has definitely proven women to be as complicated as everyone says.”

That being said, a bag is not just a bag; a woman’s handbag can either break or make a style, being detailed and strangely able to reveal her interior and multitude aspects of her life.

Metaphorically speaking, it also has the ability to maintain control of a woman’s belongings. Ultimately, a bag is a sense of belonging.

Hence, this is where Materialipstick comes into play to fashion individual style. The brand has translated its ethos of effortless wearability into these coveted artisanal bags, aimed at the strong Materialipstick girls of the 21st century.

Transforming ordinary inspiration into extraordinary designs, Materialipstick’s standout collections include the classic 1960s, the trendy Dee Dee, and the stylish Alyson.

“The Alyson bag,” said Charlyne, “takes shape of the ketupat which is a famous local dish in Malaysia. We took the design a step further by giving it a touch of minimalism with elegance.”

Its emblematic silhouette has caught the eye of many of Instagram’s fashion royalty, and has served its purpose to be an exceptional fashion statement.

The Alyson packs a strong visual immediacy with a structured knot as its front flap, impeccably-made through a combination of polished calf leather and textured canvas, accentuated by velvety suede with metallic hardware finishing.

Choose to carry it by the handle, or to wear it crossbody with a detachable shoulder strap.

Alternatively, there is the Alyson Nano, in full leather, a miniature version of the Alyson collection. It too, has established itself to be just as favourable.

Despite its petite frame, the bag captures the balance between practicality and sophistication, yet being ever so versatile, it can be easily taken from the boardroom to a night out.

These Instagram-worthy pieces that are sure to catch on, especially with the newest offerings of palette-able neutrals the brand had been teasing on its social media, including shades such as grey, blue, camel and pink.

To carry the Alyson is to carry your style with confidence. You’ve got to love a woman who appreciates the significance and possible implications that a bag can convey.