It's under $20, it's covered in dinosaurs, and it's the next big thing in fashion: it's a pouch designed by Singapore student Seetoh Sheng Jie, and it just got its moment in the international spotlight during an event at the White House. Wondering where to buy the First Lady of Singapore's purse? The design is already on backorder.
In July, Singapore First Lady Ho Ching attended a fundraiser at The Art Faculty, a gallery that sells work created by students with autism. The Straits Times reported that she bought multiple pieces before she left. Just days later, cameras caught her carrying a dinosaur pouch she'd bought from the store during a welcome ceremony at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Ching reportedly paid only $11 for the purse, according to BBC News, but her fashion statement prompted trendsetters worldwide to follow suit: the store sold 200 pouches in just one day, and the sales keep adding up. Now, the First Lady's dinosaur pouch is only available for pre-order on The Art Faculty website, but fans can get it for only $14.80 and expect to have it in hand within two months.
Aside from the denim pouch, Sheng Jie has two other items for sale on the website. The Leather Travel Pouch can be pre-ordered for $48, and the Leather Coin Pouch is available right now and priced at $28.90. Both feature the dinosaur motif layered over a yellow background.
Sheng Jie is a 19-year-old artist with autism, TODAY reported. He draws and molds dinosaurs from memory for hours each day. After 16 years of diligent practice, he's getting global attention. Jason See Toh, Sheng Jie's father, said that dinosaurs are calming to Sheng Jie and help him to stay focused. See Toh said he's "shocked" by the attention, according to The Straits Times; Sheng Jie's mother, Wendy Chua, said they're "very proud" of their son. Sheng Jie himself is happy to see his success. The teenager joined Pathlight School's Artist Development Programme, giving him the opportunity to learn art as a business and make money by selling his work, according to TODAY. The pouch has only been available since January, but visitors to The Art Faculty may find dozens of his pieces on display.
There are many students and alumni who sell their work through The Art Faculty, and a number of their creations can be purchased online. From umbrellas to art prints, the store is stocked with all kinds of items from up-and-coming artists.