Melete is an independent women's accessory brand creating handmade bags from a studio based in Philadelphia. Melete bags are meticulously executed, using top-quality leathers from tannery in PA specialized in Vegetable tanning process. Bags are often detailed with custom bronze components cast in New Mexico. The brands core aesthetic stands by its simplicity and elegance; designed for a woman with an individual and effortless sense of style. Women who wear what they love, and feel inspired by these choices.

Melete brand honors the traces we leave behind; attempts to fashion the elemental into something refined, even luxurious. Taking mindful steps and caring for the environment by making conscience choice of materials and refining development process.

Melete handbags are studio designed and produced which enables for detailed level of quality control. Working with the magnetic force between modern utility and the traditional hand-making technique; aim to re-vive personal quality and touch in every product created. Hand-making is a time consuming process, and it is a sensitive way to achieve an elevated and individual product line

Melete handbags are created in editions, and each edition represents a single contemplative word accompanying the creative process. The development is very hands-on; the initial design formation starts with collection of mood images followed by sketching shapes and texture composition. Studio development allows for organic pattern making, several stages of prototyping both digitally and in final materials, flow into fine tuning assembly and hand finishing techniques. Melete bags are beautiful, individually unique, purposefully imperfect at times just like us



Melete was founded in 2014 by designer Ji Lee. Ji was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. At age 19, she moved to New York City, where she earned her BFA and MFA in Sculpture and Installation Arts from the School of Visual Arts. Over time, Ji’s interest in Fine Arts evolved into shoe design and handbag making along with the skills she honed from working over a decade in NYC and Philadelphia. Her move from Asia to North America at a young age, along with her exposure to film and modern art from both continents empowered her to become the designer and creator she is today. Melete studio is currently based in Philadelphia.


I am driven by creative process, and I want to be on a journey of creating a line of products that are striped-down to their core elements.  Every component is re-defined and carefully chosen for its own purpose in part of a whole product. We are living in a society where we are pressed to be perfect and immediate at every moment. Embracing imperfections and taking things slow shines light on liberation and being human. I wanted Melete bags to reflect these ideas. The bags are beautiful, individually unique, purposefully imperfect just like every one of us.

 Ji Lee





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