We Hear From Gen Z Artist Sabrina Lau On Designing For Coachtopia, Coach’s New Circular Fashion Brand

Earlier this year, American fashion house Coach, already on quite a bit of a roll lately, took the world by storm with the announcement of Coachtopia, a new sub-brand that’s all about circular craft and sustainability. The goal was to upcycle leather scraps and waste materials into brand new accessories, keeping them out of the landfill, and transforming them into functional daily essentials; we’ll admit, this has the tendency to sound rather uninteresting these days, but wait till you look at what they’ve come up with.

Driven by that important mission and with Coach’s over 80 years of leather expertise to boot, the leather bags are exploding with creativity, whether we’re talking about vibrant strips overlapping to form a wavy design, or quirky checkered styles created by woven leather, across signature leather bag styles such as the Ergo Bag and the Wavy Dinky. There’s even a new ‘Upcrushed Leather’ created by pressing together leftover leathers from the production of Coach leather goods, which creates a beautifully irregular pattern that’s unique to each bag.

Coachtopia, now at the Coach Play Singapore Shophouse.
Coachtopia, now at the Coach Play Singapore Shophouse.

In Singapore, Coachtopia has launched their exciting array of handbags, accessories and ready-to-wear apparel at the Coach Play Singapore Shophouse, complete with our own unique retail experiences. These include an interactive Coachtopia Cloud Canvas that detects your movements and morphs them into a 3-D cloudscape, sustainable coaster handcrafting workshops, and new menu items over at the themed cafe.

How Coachtopia is Driven By The Gen Z Community

Coachtopia has also nailed the youthful buzz, energised by their campaign visuals and aesthetic design choices surely, but more authentic because of one thing — how they’ve included the Gen Z community since the conception of the brand.

They’re an obvious choice thanks to the young generation’s particular passion towards caring for our Earth, so it makes sense that Coach has tapped on their creative ideation and values, via an inclusive approach that brings together designers, climate activists, journalists, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, and fashion enthusiasts in consultative discussions. This also includes artist collaborations, and having Gen Z faces fronting campaign imagery.

The Ergo Bag and Wavy Dinky bags available at the Coach Play Singapore Shophouse.

“Circularity is about reimagining not just the product lifecycle, but the relationship between brand, planet and consumer,” said Joon Silverstein, SVP, Global Marketing, Creative and Sustainability at Coach and Head of Coachtopia. “We know that to transform our impacts, we need to fundamentally shift mindsets — from seeing opportunity in waste to designing backwards to taking a more open-source approach to creativity.”

“We’ve built Coachtopia as an entirely new world within Coach — an agile start-up with a mission to reimagine the end-to-end system. We’re building it not just for our consumers, but with them, inviting a growing community of hundreds of Gen Z individuals to join us on our Slack channel, collaborate with us on products, take centre stage in our content and campaigns — and reimagine our future together.”

Sabrina Lau (on the right), featured on the Coachtopia campaign visuals.

This then brings us to one such Gen Z creative, visual artist Sabrina Lau. The New York-based art director is part of Coachtopia’s Gen Z beta community, and was assigned the monumental task of designing a series of prints for the brand, which then goes on baby t-shirts, hoodies, and leather bags.

Sounds daunting? Think, opportunity of a lifetime, and naturally, this piece of news was received with much elation on her end. “I read the email, gasped, and then started crying! Honestly, it was initially just really hard to believe, and I still feel that way now,” she shared.

Fast-forward to today, and we get to revel in her vintage-style cherry and strawberry prints, as well as trippy ones featuring clouds and fuzzy mushrooms. Ahead, we detail the process behind her carefree creations, and hear her thoughts on Coachtopia’s goal of sustainability and circular fashion.

We’d love to know more about your graphic design background — do tell us how you got started in this field!

Sabrina: “I don’t have a formal background in graphic design / illustration, though I became interested in graphic design during college. I kinda just grew up drawing silly, cute doodles and have always been fond of different illustration styles. It was only during the pandemic that I really started experimenting with the style that I’ve currently landed on.”

What inspired you for some of the key motifs in your coachtopia designs, particular the cherry, strawberry and mushroom prints?

S: “We really wanted to create a colourful and optimistic world — like if you looked at the designs/art, you’d immediately smile. When choosing motifs like cherries, clouds, and fuzzy mushrooms, I really just wanted to remind people of fun and fond connections/memories they might have with these visuals. Anything related to nature also brings me a sense of warmth and happiness, so that’s why so much of the collection revolved around that as well.”

The Ergo Bag in Coachtopia Leather with Mushroom Print, featuring artwork by Sabrina Lau.
The Relaxed T-Shirt in White, and the Ergo Bag with Strawberry Print.
what was the design process like for the collection?

S: “The team came to me with some broad moodboards and direction, so I really had a ton of liberty when coming up with sketches. For every project I work on (not just this one), I love going to the park and sketching with pencil and paper. Again, nature really inspires me in general. From there, I take my initial sketches and create worlds/scenes for each graphic. Once the sketches are finalised, I take things into my tablet and laptop and add color along with all the fun stuff!”

how would you describe your art style?

S: “I really try not to take my art too seriously, and I really hope that comes across in my style. I try to focus more on a feeling that my work provokes — it’s lighthearted, silly, and hopefully makes you laugh a little. Textures like airiness and shine play a big role in my work, but I also like the contrast/tension that my work occasionally provides; the juxtaposition between soft and harsh is something that really interests me.”

Sabrina Lau with the Ergo Bag and Baby T-Shirt, seen on her Sabrina Lau.
The Wavy Dinky in Coachtopia Leather with Cherry Print.
which is the coachtopia bag you currently have on heavy rotation?

S: “I’ve got the Cherry Wavy Dinky, and personally love pairing it with more casual pieces to really let the bag shine. Like, if I’m wearing a blank tank top, some long jean shorts, and tennis shoes, it really elevates the look!

What are your thoughts on Coachtopia, especially with its focus on sustainability and circular fashion?

S: “The thing that excites me most about Coachtopia is that the idea of sustainability and circulatory isn’t around for just one collection and then forgotten — it’s baked into the brand from the very beginning. It’s something that will be the brand’s initiative from concept to end product. They’re finding new ways to make sustainability/circularity fun and approachable by creating a colourful world that everyone can be a part of.”

See more pieces designed by Sabrina here —

[click on the images below to expand.]


Coachtopia, available exclusively at the Coach Play Singapore Shophouse at 5 Keong Saik Road. From $95 for a bag charm, $150 for a baby t-shirt and $475 – $795 for a leather bag. More information at singapore.coach.com.