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On the Radar

Chatting with Bagaholicboy

MANILA FASHION OBSERVER - Christine Dychiao -

SINGAPORE — “Thinking back, I wouldn’t be much of a blogger today if it wasn’t for Aunty Cora,” shares Alvin Cher, best known in the blogging world as Bagaholicboy, Singapore’s premier bag blogger, with a worldwide following of bagaholics who consider his wildly successful blog the ultimate resource for timely and relevant information on the hottest bag releases and reviews.

The 35-year-old, who quit his job to become a full-time blogger, credits his Filipina nanny for his excellent command of the English language, as well as his fondness for adobo! And that sickly sweet fruit dessert with milk,” he adds with curiosity and enthusiasm.

Which upon further discussion, turns out to be the Filipino fiesta staple, fruit salad.

It was over a plethora of e-mails, Twitter messages and late night Google chats that I got to know more about Alvin and his blog.

Bagaholicboy’s latest acquisition is the Celine Phantom Luggage in mock croc, which is a reinterpretation of the classic Celine luggage tote for Fall/Winter 2011.

In between serious discussions like, “Did you know Mulberry is majority owned by a Singaporean?” to lighthearted chitchat, I discovered that he is as helpful, informative, funny and delightful offline as he is online.

Read on as he shares how he spends a day in his life, his favorite blogs, the future of bags, as well as his latest obsession: shoes.

ON THE RADAR: You mentioned in your interview with Female magazine that your bag obsession started with a plaid Ralph Lauren toiletries pouch back in secondary school. What was the next bag you bought after that or what was your first designer bag? 

ALVIN CHER: Gosh, it has been so long. There were many bags after that, but the most expensive one when I first started the blog was the Monogram Canvas Keepall45. Still using it today, and one of the best bags ever made in my personal opinion.

What were you doing before you started your blog?

I was a creative director in a small magazine publishing house. 

When you first started blogging and doing your research, did you have a hard time extracting information about bags from sales associates? Or were they accommodating? I can imagine it must have been difficult explaining to SAs what a blog was back in 2007?

Bottega Veneta’s Knot

I still find it hard to extract information today, unless they already know me personally. I do loads of research (both online and off), visit shops, read magazines just to get a clearer idea of what I’m writing about. Press kits are useful, which I get loads of these days, but sometimes it is still better to do your own research.

Your blog started in 2007, and in March of this year, you quit your job to focus on your blog full time. What’s a day in your life like? Are you pretty much online a lot? 

I spend too much time online! I usually start my day at 9 a.m., and after two cups of Nespresso and mucking around I try to start work. I prep posts for the week, prepare my weekly post for InSing.com, go out for meetings with various brands. I also spend way too much time on Twitter and Facebook, but it is for “work” so technically it’s all good.

Do you have time to read other blogs? If so, which blogs do you read?

I do! I often get inspired by other blogs, they feature say, a shoe, which makes me think of a bag and so on. I love men’s blogs like 00o00 (Singaporean guy based in the UK) and We Could Grow Up Together, a talented Asian photographer working in the States. Oh yes, two other blogs I read: Mark’s Freshmess, and Javier’s DeluxeDuck. Both are also Pinoy by the way. One is based in Oslo, the other in Canberra.

It must have been a thrill receiving invites from Mulberry and being recognized by Coach and Prada. Did you ever find out how they came across your blog and what impressed them most about your work?

Goyard’s St. Louis

Yes it is! I recently did Paris Fashion Week as well in March and covered shows by Celine, Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Loewe and Miu Miu. A great honor as far as I’m concerned, to secure a show invite, since I’m technically not mainstream press.

I guess in the beginning a lot of it was word of mouth, and gradually they were convinced that I could put out quality reporting that was always fair and just, not just saying it was good (or bad) just for the sake of it. I’m especially proud of my associations with Burberry, Coach, Loewe and Mulberry. They got in touch with me since the day I started and have been very supportive and kind all these years.

You get 125,000 hits a day and you have followers/readers from all over the world. Did you ever imagine your blog would reach such heights? 

No! Honestly from the first day I started, getting 10 hits a day would have been a great thrill. Even till today, I am especially proud of the fact that many readers have become good friends, we keep in touch, updating each other on our latest conquests or where to find the best deals online. 

You have 50 bags right now. Will you continue to grow this collection or are you the type to let go of other bags to make room for new bags?

I am seriously running out of space. My mum and partner have kindly hinted I should get rid of some before I take on anymore, but it is definitely going to be tough. Really tough. 

Chanel’s Classic Flap

Is there a preference for a particular bag brand or is your collection an eclectic mix of styles and brands?

I like the fact that every season something new and different catches my eye. It can be the affordable (yet stylish) satchel from The Cambridge Satchel Company, or the Celine Phantom Luggage in mock croc I’ve already ordered. Sometimes I go preppy and I just go out with a simple tote, other days I want to “bring it on” so I head out with my Goyard gear. 

What’s your favorite bag to bring around these days?

Right now it has to be the Mulberry Postman Lock Travel Bag. Gorgeous, oversized and just perfect if you have loads to lug around or for a quick weekend jaunt overseas.

Let’s say a girl can only buy five bags in her lifetime, which bags/brands would you recommend?

Easy. A girl only really needs four. And they are classics of course. Get a Speedy from Louis Vuitton, the Knot from Bottega Veneta, the Classic Flap or 2.55 from Chanel and the Saint Louis from Goyard. All lush, all gorgeous. And use the money left over from the last two bags to get affordable fun bags from the likes of Coach, Kate Spade or Tory Burch just to name a few.

You said that no bag is worth a debt, what bag would you recommend for a girl/guy on a budget?

Well, it really depends on what the budget is. Use the sum you’ve already put aside for your new bag, and stick to it. Don’t be tempted to go overboard and trying reasoning with yourself. It is only $500 more, also means you are going to spend $500 more you don’t have to begin with. Affordable brands to check out include Coach, Kate Spade and Mulberry. 

Louis Vuitton’s Speedy

Do you see the demise of the It Bag? Do you think the bag craze will continue to grow?

It Bags will always come and go, but if the brands have a choice, new ones will reappear every single season. Will it continue to grow? Of course! It is an everyday essential that no one can do without.

You’ve been tapped to curate for online store Doorstep Luxury and create online buzz for Tangs. Do you see doing more of these in the future?

Yes, I actually have a few more projects coming up, most of which I can’t really say more of at this point. As far as I’m concerned, as long as the brand is relevant to my readers and myself, I’ll do it.

Apart from bags, what are your other interests?

Shoes! I am starting to spend more and more on them, but I guess it is just a natural evolution. I also like accessories like rings and bracelets. I like to think I read a lot too, and besides my usual stash of fashion magazines, I try and read Monocle from cover to cover every month.

It does seem like you’re cultivating an addiction to shoes! Is a shoe blog in the works?

Yes! And you are officially the first one to be breaking this news! I am working on perhaps launching a new blog just on shoes, but the bigger question would be when. I will never launch something I’m not really to handle, so let’s see how that goes.

* *  *

Visit Alvin’s blog at htpp://www.bagaholicboy.com.

BAG

BAGS

BLOG

BOTTEGA VENETA

CELINE PHANTOM LUGGAGE

CLASSIC FLAP

LOUIS VUITTON

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