At first glance, what Uyii Bags represents seems to go against what people may view as a lucrative business in the local context. While other companies are striving to lower their bottom lines and increase their profit margins, what Uyii is more concerned with is making sure all their bags adhere to their philosophy of promoting locally handmade products.
When I first met Liping and Benny at their studio, Uyii was in the midst of their second year of operations, and their bags mainly appealed to the younger crowd of tertiary students and young working adults. They told me they wanted to create a brand that was more than that, something that appealed universally, and especially to older folk; to people like our parents, or the auntie and uncle sitting at the local kopitiam. One of the muses for this inspiration was Liping’s mom, Molly, whom she wanted as a model for the shoot. It was a request so pure and heartfelt that I knew everything was going to go well after that.
It was when I met Molly at French Road where her office is located in the initial stages to get a sense of what direction to take that I knew I found the perfect location. It is extremely rare to find an estate mainly untainted by en-bloc and upgrading campaigns that reflected a certain kind of nostalgia reminiscent from my formative years, and based on that I was sold. From neighbourhood fruit stalls to traditional Chinese medicine houses.
The models. Christina, Connie and Molly, took to being in front of the camera like fish to water. Their smiles were infectious, plus the chemistry towards each other something that is hard to replicate and truly reflective of what the brand wanted to portray – that people do not simply stop living once they stop being young, and that life can always be lived in fullness all the days of your lives.
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