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An interview with accessories designer, Kashish Hemnani of Laykh

Kashish Hemnani

Laykh certainly gives good arm candy. Hong Kong based, this accessory label, whose founder is Kashish Hemnani undoudedly combines attention to detail with beautiful materials and timless silhouettes. The result? A handbag and accessories collation that exudes an elegant and super-chic attitude.

We sat down with Kashish to talk more about her luxury fashion brand.

Sum up your brand’s aesthetic?

Clean lines, understated elegance and ravishing symmetry.

Fareesa Laykh Shoulder Handbag (Black Python Belly Matte Finish Italian Leather) Hong Kong _ 1
Laykh features a stylish collection of exotic leather handbags

What is it about bags and accessories you love?

I am a classic vintage non-clutter sort of gal! I applaud the clean-cut elegant aesthetic wardrobes however sometimes these looks can look a bit bland. The power of the exotic skin handbag dawned on me, how the luxuriously textured statement skins can transform a simple jeans and t-shirt day into a picture worthy street style moment and those “nothing to wear” days go from frustrating to fabulous!

From a business standpoint, handbags are a vital part of our daily attire, they are a fashion statement with a purpose, a functional accessory and always in demand. My product was not “fit” specific, measurements are universal and it made me feel relaxed that there was potential for crystal clear online sales.

What is your first fashionable memory?

My High School Graduation Dinner Dance! I was always a bit of a tomboy in school and never really made an effort to be particularly fashion conscious until my final year. I had watched a movie and saw the leading lady wearing a gorgeous beaded dress with sheer paneling and I fell in love, I had to have it for my graduation formal. I bought a beaded basic dress and some chiffon and ran to my tailor who made me an exact copy in a deep navy blue – I had never gotten so many compliments!

Fareesa Laykh Shoulder Handbag (Black Python Belly Matte Finish Italian Leather) Hong Kong _ 2
Laykh creates a new intersection in accessories by combining undeniable New York sophistication, with the unexpected edge of a global fashionista

Tell us about your design process?

My aim when designing is to convey strength and celebrate natural beauty, I love working with exotic leathers, the textures are incredible and as a rule none of my pieces are cluttered with hardware or logos that would upstage the spectacular skins.

After multiple trials and countless sampling I have learned to listen to the leathers, despite the skins being of the highest quality they have their own limitations and delivering a quality handbag all comes down to the perfect match between “leather” and “shape”. Only the right shape will accentuate the natural characteristics of the leather and only the right leather with ensure that a bag keeps it shape. I design my bags to always be relevant to one’s wardrobe, to be on trend yet never “trendy” – to be eternally stylish, the way the bag ages is a primary concern for me.

Aesthetically, my decisions are made holistically, I have to be able to think of several outfits that the bag could accompany, I don’t want to see any reason the bag could not realistically be carried around during the day while running errands then for the evening as I head out for a couple of cocktails – when I think about the bag, if nothing else it needs to feel right . The pillars of the Laykh brand are Relevance, Accessibility and Quality.

Which was the first bag you designed?

My SHY clutch, named after one of my best friends who is small and cute which is what the bag looked like! It was made in a silver glitter champagne python belly with two pleats and a small turn lock closure It is till date my favorite finish of leather – it does not have a metallic finish but just an elegant shimmer and goes with silver or gold accessories. I remember I went to pick up the first prototype on the 31st of Dec, 2008 and carried it out that evening for 2009 New Years!

How has the brand evolved and where do you see the label in 5 years?

Creating a brand is a tumultuous journey, what started off as a handbag brand has now evolved into a lifestyle brand featuring accessories and launching leather footwear and garment collections this year.

What every successful brand has is brand “loyalty” and a clear “identity”. I launched LAYKH in 2009 before social media took over the way we live life! What used to be a simple, “girls meet bag – bag meet girl” story threw me into the realm of hashtags and blogging. I was not prepared and wasted a few years listening to all the so-called “experts” telling me what I “should” be doing to stay relevant in this new era. I lost track of my focus and started to allow online “trends” to dictate my collections and the existing loyal clientele that I had built up stopped responding to my work. What had initially attracted them to the brand was no longer there. It is key to have what I like to call a “handwriting” , a steady style gliding through all your collections. Someone should look at a bag and know – “That is a Laykh”. Authenticity is vital to creating your “identity”.

This might sound unromantic but “loyalty” comes down to a simple supply and demand! Listening to the market and your customer is a secret ingredient to success as you can create collections that you know are relevant. After years I now know who the Laykh Lady is, what she wants and what she is willing to spend. I have learned that no PR company can give you what word of mouth can. In the next five years, my focus is to further expand my reach into wholesale, the possibilities are endless!

Monika Laykh Python Minaudiere Box Clutch
The Laykh mission is simple, to adorn today’s modern woman by offering a relaxed but always refined collection rooted in exceptional quality for today’s exceptional women

Which is your all-time favourite day bag and evening bag?

DAY BAG: My signature bag and best seller – the FAREESA in the black python belly. I was inspired to create the perfect day bag, a handbag that easily adorns and can effortlessly transition from work to play!

With the multiple miniature pleat detailing that beautifully accentuates the python belly scales running down the bag, it has “Mary Poppins” potential! It provides ample room for all your non-essentials by puffing out but when carrying just what you need its silhouette easily flattens down coming together and looks incredibly sleek! The thin exotic leather and minimal chain detail makes this bag a comfortable pleasure to carry which is key whether it be heading to work, running errands, going to lunch or an impromptu dinner plan arises. I have three of them and I honestly feel as comfortable carrying it in jeans and flats, smart casual in a blazer jeans and heels or in a dinner dress and heels. It is just a pleasure to carry and wonderfully versatile!

EVENING BAG: My MONIKA minaudiere box clutch in any colour! There is nothing more frustrating on a night out than a box clutch that does not close. Typically box clutches feel restrictive but this clutch is deceptively spacious and stress-free!

Whilst it does not fit the Samsung or the iPhone Plus, it fits every other phone! I can easily in addition to my phone fit a lipstick, concealer, credit cards, money and keys. For my mature Laykh Ladies who need their glasses, not to worry it fits those too and also has a detachable strap keeping you relaxed. The new collection will be out by April and the clasps feature a stunning malachite stone – I cannot wait!