Shop The Handbag Awards


Carmen Chen Wu

Carmen Chen Wu

Carmen Chen Wu is a handbag line established in 2012 in New York through the collaboration of a young designer and old-school luxury craftsmen.
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Pinterest
Carmen Chen Wu handbags are the product of a collaboration among craftsmen, both experienced and young, and are made using old-school techniques injected with a fresh design sensibility. Each collection is play with materials and construction in a unique way.

Carmen started her fashion career intending to design womenswear. However, a chance encounter led her into an old school leather craftman's workshop, where she was instantly captivated by the private world of American leather craftsmen and traders and fell in love with the art of handbag design. After several years apprenticing at the studio and learning construction, she was ready to launch her own brand.

Carmen Chen Wu is an award-winning designer who comes from a long line of artists and has studied fashion design at Central St. Martins and Parsons. In addition, she has apprenticed with, and now collaborates with, second-generation craftsmen with almost four decades of experience constructing luxury leather handbags in their workshop in New York. Through the workshop, Carmen has worked on technical design for renowned American handbag labels such as Tommy Hilfiger, Ghurka, Kate Spade, Theory, and DVF. Outside of the workshop, Carmen has also worked for brands such as Marchesa, Vivienne Tam and Fairchild Baldwin.

Carmen Chen Wu is a celebration of craftsmanship and love and dedication for creating truly special unique pieces one at a time. The focus is on creating a sense of fantasy for a younger customer.

The first collection, "Tender Skins," uses a nubuck leather with a uniquely naked surface that feels soft and tender in your hands. The construction technique employed in this collection is called “raw-edge,” an early method of construction popular in the seventies. The manipulation of the leather is minimized, and the bags are crafted by fitting slabs of leather into each other much like a mason might lay down the bricks of a wall. In this way, this collection emphasizes construction. Materials and construction techniques change as inspiration strikes.

Carmen Chen Wu is a growing brand that creates exquisite handbags out of New York. Carmen Chen Wu bags marry old school technical skill with fresh design inspiration.