Designer Samantha Rogers’ path to fashion was less traditional than most. With a background in industrial design, she travelled through lighting, furniture and graphic design before finally establishing Du Zen!, a range of locally made, luxe leather bags.

Du Zen! launched just last week, and for Rogers it’s been two years in the making. “It was a big challenge finding people locally with the right skills to produce my work,” she says. “Getting the right quality of hardware and materials was not easy.”

Manufacturing locally is imperative to Rogers, and the label now occupies a small studio in Melbourne where the bags are designed and made. Rogers’ love for the manufacturing process means she’s there to oversee every step in the making of a Du Zen! bag. “I want to create products that embody beautiful craftsmanship, colourful style and a sense of play.”

Rogers’ first range covers the basics – backpacks, totes, clutches and wallets – and equips them with removable straps and contrasting folds, so a clutch can become a cross-body bag or a backpack can become a tote in one swift move.

The combination of versatility and quirky silhouettes is something Rogers hopes the label will be recognised for. “I want to explore new techniques and the way bags are made,” she says. “That’s the industrial designer in me.”

Du Zen is available online at duzen.com.au.