It isn’t uncommon for luxury brands to offer customisation services for leather goods and accessories. However, those looking to personalise one-of-a-kind pieces will do well to engage the services of a marquage artist. ‘Marquage’, a French word, means ‘to mark’. By extension, it refers to the act of personalising an item. And for these marquage artists, luxury leather goods such as Hermes Birkin bags are the canvas on which their work lives.
The thought of painting on a $80,000 leather bag might have previously been a preposterous thought, but it is increasingly becoming the ultimate way of customising one’s branded leather goods. The services of marquage artists are highly sought after. However, there are only a few who operate in Singapore. Below, the talented individuals at the forefront of the Singapore marquage art scene.
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01: Cherin Sim
Having obtained a Masters degree in fine arts as well as a background in leather-working, Cherin Sim started her career by creating bespoke leather goods. She often painted on them to personalise them, which kickstarted her career as a full-time marquage artist. Clients now bring her their leather goods ranging from rare luxury finds to treasured family heirlooms. The 31-year-old incorporates her own style into her art and executes her paintings with extreme precision.
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02: Vania Isfandari
Based in Singapore as a marquage artist for Louis Vuitton, Vania underwent six years of training, painting initials on suitcases and other leather items. Thereafter, she was given more creative freedom, and began painting custom designs for clients. Her style can be described as whimsical and her paintings are of a semi realistic nature.
(Related: Victor Lee, founder of Diamond Walker, on launching customisable luxury leather sneakers)
03: Miki Gao
Despite having no formal background in art, Miki Gao has always been artistically inclined. Gao, who trained as a hairstylist at Kim Robinson, found herself not only beautifying the tresses of her clients, but also their leather goods. The trust of her clients, coupled with her undeniable skill, fuelled her career as a marquage artist of luxury leather goods.
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Cover image: Instagram/@simcherin