Kids Corner


Sikh-American Designer Shortlisted For International Award:
Devinder 'Jyoti' Singh





Defeating more than 1,500 entries from five continents and 28 countries, Sikh-American handbag designer Devinder ‘Jyoti’ Singh's jute bag has made it to the final five at the Independent Handbag Designer Award (“IHDA”) for the greenest handbag.

Public voting for the winner continues, with TODAY being the last day.

Devinder Singh is based in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Founded in 2007, the Independent Handbag Designer Awards by Handbag Designer 101 was created to celebrate handbag design and creativity from the United States and around the world.

Some notable past winners include Australian designer Aimee Kestenberg (fondly known as the handbag wonder from Down Under), Chicago-based Brazilian designer Diego Rocha (known for his exotic handbags) and Italian designer Maria Lamanna, to name a few.

Devinder's entry to the competition is a jute bag, which is the result of his recent experiments in raw jute.

"I manipulate the jute into a structured bag that has a soft organic look rather than a rigid appearance. I have blended form and function into a traditional shape to create a fashion forward look without compromising the environment. This design is appealing and has been popular with both men and women," he said.

Born in Dhanbad, Bihar, Devinder suffered from polio at the age of two. His parents tried every known treatment available in India, but to no avail. In 1979, at the age 13, he traveled to America to seek additional treatments, and stayed with relatives in Plantation, Florida.

In 1985, his family also moved to America.

At age 19, he and his sister opened a trendy clothing boutique in Winter Park, Florida. They started to dabble in designing women’s clothing.

Devinder’s designs were featured alongside many prominent designers of those times. After ten years of being in the retail business, he wanted to pursue his passion for design. He attended Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) for summer studies and that’s when he knew that he wanted to be a designer. 

His father had started a very successful leather business in 1990. And with his encouragement, Devinder embarked on designing handbags. The twist was that they were made from everything but leather.

Devinder traveled abroad several times a year -- as he still does now -- to explore new and traditional, age-old textiles and materials.

It took two years to build a production team and KC Malhan was born. The brand name of ‘K C Malhan’ is a combination of the names of his late grandparents.

They handmade their evening bags, special occasion bags and fun clutches. Each bag showcased intricate beading, sequin or embroidery work. Majorly retro, with a modern twist, in his designs is a major underlining factor, which extends to the IHDA entry as well, that he has been creating his bags "responsibly”.

"I have been using natural, recyclable and sustainable fibres in my bags," he explains.

Devinder met his wife Jessica, also a designer with a Master’s degree from Northwestern University. They now have a wonderful nine year old son, Jassa Singh.

K C Malhan creations have been widely featured in major fashion and lifestyle magazines, including People, Redbook, "O", and Lucky.

Today, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, is the final day for voting by the public around the world.

Please help him win by voting HERE … now!
The awards will be announced on June 18.

[With input by Sarika Sharma of The Times of India. Edited for]
June 10, 2014

Conversation about this article

1: Karen (Rockingham, North Carolina, USA), June 11, 2014, 9:28 AM.

So refreshing to see an environmentally focused designer. His design reflects nature and all of its beauty. Socially responsible and utilitarian while fully expressing his aesthetics. Perfection.

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Devinder 'Jyoti' Singh"

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