International Women’s Day 2024: Keri Andriana

Keri Andriana is the CEO and founder of the UK-based affordable luxury handbag brand, Amschela. Before entering the world of fashion, Keri had a career in law, specialising in Prison Law. Following a job loss in 2016, she decided to pursue her interest in handbag design, leading to the creation of Amschela. Since its launch in 2017, the brand has garnered attention for its celebrity appeal, appearing on the arms of fashionistas at high-profile events like London Fashion Week and The British Fashion Awards. Keri’s journey from a lawyer to a multi-award-winning handbag designer highlights her remarkable transition and the success of Amschela in the fashion industry​ as a PETA Approved Brand and a champion for social mobility.

  1. How did you get to where you are today in business?

My journey to becoming the CEO and founder of Amschela, a UK-based luxury handbag brand, is a story of resilience, passion, and a bold step into the fashion world.

After losing my job in the legal sector in 2016, where I specialised in Prison Law, I found myself at a crucial turning point in my career. This challenging moment prompted me to re-evaluate my goals and interests, leading me toward the fashion industry; a field I had always been passionate about but had never ventured into professionally.

With no formal background in fashion or business, I embarked on this new path with determination and a readiness to learn. I applied my skills in research, negotiation, and strategic planning, honed from my legal career, to navigate the complexities of launching and growing a brand in the competitive fashion marketplace.

Amschela was created from a vision to offer affordable luxury handbags that are elegant, functional, and distinctive. My transition from a legal professional to a fashion entrepreneur highlights the importance of embracing change, following one’s passions, and the remarkable opportunities that come from daring to dream and stepping into the unknown.

  1. When did you first notice gender disparity and when do you think your first experience of inequity was?

I first noticed gender disparity at a relatively young age, although it took me some time to fully understand and articulate what I was observing. My awareness began in the classroom and on the playground, where I saw differences in how boys and girls were treated and the expectations placed upon them. Teachers often encouraged boys to pursue subjects like math and science, while girls were subtly steered towards the arts and humanities. On the playground, boys were expected to be rough and tumble, while girls were admonished for the same behaviour.

My first personal experience of inequity came when I was in a mixed-gender sports team as a child. I noticed that the boys were given more playtime, praised more for their achievements, and taken more seriously by the coaches. Despite putting in the same amount of effort and showing similar levels of skill, the girls on the team, including myself, were not afforded the same opportunities and recognition. This experience was eye-opening; it was the moment I began to question the fairness of different treatment based on gender and became more conscious of the broader societal patterns that dictated these norms.

  1. What advice do you wish you could give your younger self?

If I could give advice to my younger self, it would centre around the importance of self-belief, resilience, and the pursuit of passion over conformity.

I’d say, “Trust in your abilities and instincts more. You have an inner strength and wisdom that is far greater than you realise, and it will guide you through life’s challenges. Don’t be swayed by the fear of failure or the need for external validation. Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a stepping stone towards it. Embrace every setback as a lesson and a chance for growth.

Focus on what genuinely excites you and brings you joy, rather than what you think you ‘should’ do or what others expect of you. The most fulfilling and successful paths are often the ones that don’t follow a conventional route. Your uniqueness is your greatest asset, not something to be hidden away.

Lastly, cultivate patience and persistence. Great things take time, and perseverance is key. There will be moments when progress seems slow or invisible, but trust that every effort is contributing to your larger journey. Surround yourself with people who support and believe in you but remember that your own approval is the most crucial. Your journey is your own, and it’s the inner journey of growth, self-discovery, and resilience that matters most.”

This advice, rooted in self-compassion, courage, and authenticity, would have helped me navigate the complexities of growing up with more confidence and less self-doubt.

It’s a reminder that life is not just about reaching a destination but appreciating and learning from each step along the way.

  1. What has been your greatest achievement in business?

My greatest achievement in business, without a doubt, has been having my brand, Amschela, selected as a goodie bag brand for the 2023 British Fashion Awards. This moment stands out as a pinnacle of recognition and validation for the hard work, creativity, and dedication that have been poured into building Amschela from the ground up. Being chosen for such a prestigious event is not just an honour; it’s a testament to the brand’s unique vision, quality, and appeal in the competitive world of fashion.

The British Fashion Awards are a global spotlight for fashion excellence, celebrating innovation, craftsmanship, and influence within the industry. To have Amschela included among the brands represented at this illustrious event was a dream come true. It marked a significant milestone that affirmed our brand’s place within the luxury fashion sphere and showcased our designs to a global audience of industry leaders, influencers, and fashion enthusiasts.

This achievement was particularly meaningful because it reflected the collective effort of our team and the support of our customers and partners. It validated our commitment to creating exceptional, affordable luxury handbags that resonate with a discerning clientele. More than that, it underscored our brand’s ethos of elegance, functionality, and distinctive style.

Being part of the 2023 British Fashion Awards goodie bags has propelled Amschela into a new realm of opportunities and visibility. It has opened doors, fostered connections, and significantly boosted our brand’s profile. This recognition has not only elevated our brand’s status but has also invigorated our resolve to continue innovating, pushing boundaries, and pursuing excellence in all we do.

  1. How can we inspire a younger generation of girls and young women to break through the glass ceiling?

Inspiring the next generation of girls and young women to break through the glass ceiling in the fashion industry requires a tailored approach that champions creativity, inclusivity, and resilience.

Education is foundational, not just in terms of academic learning but also in exposing young minds to the vast opportunities within fashion, from design and production to marketing and leadership. Introducing programs that highlight the breadth of careers in fashion and emphasise skills like entrepreneurship and innovation can empower girls from a young age to envision themselves in these roles.

Representation is paramount. It’s essential for young girls and women to see themselves reflected in the industry’s leaders, designers, and influencers. Showcasing success stories of women who have carved paths in fashion, particularly those who have broken through barriers and challenged norms, serves as powerful inspiration. This visibility can change perceptions and encourage young women to aspire to roles of influence and creativity.

Mentorship within fashion can provide a direct link between aspiring young talents and established professionals. Creating mentorship programs that connect young women with mentors in their area of interest within fashion can demystify the journey to success and provide a supportive network. This guidance can be instrumental in navigating the industry’s challenges and seizing opportunities.

Cultivating an environment that challenges stereotypes and promotes diversity within the fashion industry is crucial. This involves not only addressing gender disparities but also embracing diversity in all its forms, including race, body size, and age. Encouraging a culture that values and seeks out diverse perspectives can foster innovation and creativity.

Finally, advocating for systemic changes is essential. This includes policies and practices that promote gender equality, such as equal pay, leadership opportunities for women, and support for work-life balance. By creating a more inclusive industry, we not only empower women but also enrich the fashion world with diverse ideas and perspectives.

By focusing on education, representation, mentorship, cultural shifts, and systemic changes, we can inspire and equip the next generation of girls and young women to not just navigate the fashion industry but to redefine it. It’s about breaking the glass ceiling and weaving a new tapestry of opportunity that celebrates diversity, creativity, and empowerment at every level.


Lauren Cox

Head of Marketing