There’s something to be said about bloggers who make it to London Fashion Week
5 July 2012

POH Bei Yan is so obsessed about bags that she started Bag Addicts Anonymous.

Despite what its name suggests, Bag Addicts Anonymous (www.bagaddictsanonymous.com) is not a mutual aid movement for those with a serious addiction to bags but a blog for bag enthusiasts. In it, Poh not only features pictures of the latest designer bags in the market, she also reviews them, assessing their worth, aesthetically and functionally.

“I started Bag Addicts Anonymous in September 2009 to share my bag obsession with like-minded ‘bagaholics’ out there. I know a lot about bags simply because I’ve loved them since I was little.

Bag lady: Poh Bei Yan and her prized possessions. From childhood, her favourite accessory has been bags.

“My friends often consult me when they want to buy bags. So I thought why not use my blog to share what I know with others,” says Poh.

The blog also has a question-and-answer section for visitors to get feedback on anything they want regarding bags.

Poh’s fascination for bags started really early, with cutesy, girlie bags in sweet colours. “Bags were always my favourite accessory, even when I was a child. Of course, when I was younger, my mother picked all my bags for me – at the time, it was bags with cartoon motifs.

“I started to develop my personal taste and style when I was in college. My favourite brands then included Guess, Morgan, LeSportsac and Ralph Lauren. It wasn’t until I was in university that I got a taste for designer bags. These days, I actually build my outfit around the bag I will be carrying for the day,” says the 28-year-old.

Poh’s personal collection comprises 20 designer bags including a purple Fendi XXV suede Hobo which she bought from Las Vegas in the United States; it is a limited edition piece that was launched in 2005 to commemorate Fendi’s 80th Anniversary.

Poh with American designer Michael Kors at London Fashion Week last September.

Essentially, Bag Addicts Anony-mous is a review site for luxury bags and therefore, it caters for a niche market: fashionistas who appreciate and can afford luxury bags.

“I love the craftsmanship and the details that go into these bags. Sure, we’re paying so much more, but it’s money well spent. But I realise it’s different strokes for different folks. There will always be people who say bags are overpriced, just as there are people who say luxury cars, fine jewellery and watches are overpriced. It’s just a matter of preference. At the end of the day, we just have to respect that people go for different things. For me, it’s bags.”

Since her blog is free of advertising, Poh feels she is able to offer objective feedback on the bags she features.

“Everything I put up on the blog is a reflection of my opinions. While I do say wonderful things about certain bags, I also talk about bags that I don’t fancy. This is where I differ from fashion magazines. In magazines, you only see glowing reviews of bags. You hardly see any ‘not-so-rave’ reviews. I certainly don’t blame them because they are kept afloat by advertising revenue. But this is one reason people flock to blogs – for a more objective viewpoint,” she says.

Her honest reviews have garnered her quite a following: Bag Addicts Anonymous records an average of 17,000 page views a month. After just a year, Poh’s blog was noticed by the industry and she started receiving press kits as well as invitations to launches, openings, and press-only events and previews.

A year ago, she secured invitations to attend two Fashion Week shows abroad – an invitation from Mulberry in London for their Autumn/Winter 2011/12 show as well as an invitation from Burberry for their Spring/Summer 2012 show in London last September.

“I couldn’t make it to the Mulberry show but I did go to London for Burberry’s show. It has always been a dream of mine to attend Fashion Week so when that turned into reality, it just felt surreal. I had such a great time.

“To top it all off, I had an allocated seat at the show and not just a standing ticket – I was really stoked.

“It was so glamorous. I managed to catch a glimpse of celebrities like Kanye West, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Sienna Miller and Clemence Posey in the flesh … and also fashion editor extrodinaire Anna Wintour! It was everything I imagined it to be, and more,” she enthuses.

Poh even got the chance to go backstage after the show where she saw Burberry’s creative director, Christopher Bailey. She also got a look at the label’s ready-to-wear, accessories and bags up close.

Attending Fashion Week was definitely a highlight, and Poh sincerely hopes she can make it to shows in Paris and Milan this September.

However, blogging remains very much a hobby for Poh. She has several day jobs: she lectures part-time at Monash University Malaysia, and also teaches flute and piano privately. And this year, she plans to start on her doctoral studies.

No matter how busy she gets, Poh updates her blog every day.

“It’s what I love. I hope to be viewed as Malaysia’s bag expert. I’ve also started contributing to fashion portal Tongue In Chic on all things bag-related so I’m hoping I’m well on my way to being the “go-to” person on the subject of bags!”

Source: The Star, Star 2, July 5th 2012, Page 7

Note:

Poh Bei Yan has been a sessional lecturer in the University's SASS faculty since 2008. She is also the editor and founder of Bag Addicts Anonymous, a designer handbag review blog. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram via @bagaddictsanon.