Gnome & Bow was founded on that very notion that bags can go beyond functionality to become a new medium for storytelling, evoking the same emotions as our favourite stories. Drawing inspiration from the classics to tales of fancy, they develop story elements that are imbued seamlessly into their goods. As with reading a book for the first time, exploring their products will uncover subtle and clever details that reveal a story you’ll find familiar, but with a modern twist.
After graduating from economics school, Quanda worked in a bank for 2.5 years, but realised halfway that it was not for him, so he started to think really seriously about his dream of starting his own fashion brand.
After many years of studying bags, Quanda realised that most bags are just bags and that didn’t cut it. That’s when the concept of Gnome & Bow got seeded to create bags with a story to tell. He felt that accessories can go beyond functionality and was an ideal medium for storytelling. In March 2014, he successfully crowdfunded over $37,000 in a span of 5 weeks to become the largest fashion campaign in Asia, in turn also making Gnome & Bow a reality.
Gnome & Bow draws inspiration from the classic stories to tales of fancy – anything from ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ to ‘The Da Vinci Code’. Coupled with keen observation of how people use things and what needs they have, they develop clever story elements that are woven subtly into our goods.
A common question people ask is whether the story or the bag design comes first. Quanda likens this to the chicken-egg paradox.
The bags in Book I: The Hare & the Flying Tortoise in particular were born first from a functional standpoint. Having travelled to many parts of the world, Quanda realised the need for a bag with an easily accessible slot to hold our laptops, separate from rest of our things, so as to breeze though security checks. And so he started dabbling with a bag that had 2 main zippers. The parallel alignment of zippers reminded him of tracks in racing. That’s how The Hare & the Flying Tortoise was born.
On the contrary, Book II: Jekyll’s Hyde was born first from Quanda’s fascination for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Expounding on the idea of duality, he wanted to create bags that truly allowed one to embrace both their rational and wild side, hence the concept of reversibility became a key element to achieve this in his design.
Quanda shares that his personal favourite now is our latest collection Book II: Jekyll’s Hyde. The range of bags and wallets in this collection are designed to showcase the two contending faces of human nature: the rational, reserved side versus the wilder, more spontaneous inner self.
In this bag collection, the duality of man is expounded by each bag’s reversibility. One side features a classic and lustrous Midnight Blue or Forest Green nylon which speaks of a distinguished Dr. Jekyll. When flipped, the bags reveal a custom printed cotton canvas in Khaki Maverick or Olive Maverick, each motif testament to the unconventional ways of Mr. Hyde. Both characters spar with their other selves via a message that is engraved on the inner leather base of the bag, a constant hint at the fine line that one might thread between the two contradicting personalities.
In this wallet collection, these two sides are represented by the two contrasting colours. Deep Sea Blue embodies the classy and collected Dr. Jekyll, while Jungle Green characterises the uninhibited and thrill-seeking Mr. Hyde. Each wallet features one colour on the exterior and the contrast colour on the inside, significant of the Jekyll & Hyde that coexists within us.
Gnome & Bow is currently stocked in Singapore, Stockholm and Manila. Visit www.gnomenbow.com to check out their other storytelling products!