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LFW Collaboration – Harriet’s interview…

10th September 2014

With London Fashion Week nearly here, Harriet is collaborating with womenswear designer Ethologie by Jasper Garvida and has made them some exquisite handbags with patch work animal printed leather onto suede clutches and rucksacks. Here’s the full interview below, see more about the collection here.

 

Here is an interview with Harriet Sanders herself, spilling all the ideas behind her creations and how she got to where she is in the first place.

1) What’s your story?

In 2009 I graduated from the London College of Fashion, studying Cordwainers Fashion Design Technology, specialising in the manufacture of leather handbags. Upon graduating I quickly went about setting up my business, I wanted to design and manufacture bags, which demonstrate my belief in colour, simplicity, and detail at affordable yet aspirational prices. I started on market stalls earning enough money for my first trade show – at this show I gained my first two stockists, 5 years on I now have over 35 stockists in the UK (some with multiple stores), and one in Japan.

2) Who is your most ideal client?

Zoe Deschannel. She has a very classic and easy style about her. She could be the girl next door or your best friend. We generally design for a broad age range of women that have an appreciation for British made products. All of our pieces are aspirational without being over the top.

3) Who/what is your inspiration for your distinctive collection of bags?

I find inspiration in everything. I can see a girl on the tube carrying a bag and I will take it apart in my head and make it better. Other times a design can come from a piece of leather I have seen and fallen in love with. We appreciate input from our customers too and many of our bags have been developed from their comments.

With the range I designed and produced for Jasper, it very much has to tie in with his collection. Jasper shared his design ideas of patchwork, boro leather, safari and metallic leathers and it developed from there.

4) If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?

Creative, lively, conscientious

5) What’s in your bag and what does it say about you?

You should never ask a lady what’s in her bag.

6) We love that you recycle items and incorporate them in designs, what are your opinions on sustainability in the industry and how else are you doing your bit to change it?

I love working with leather, as it is a natural product and has a long life expectancy. All of our leather is ethically sourced, meaning there is no wastage when the animal goes to slaughter. We take this into account when producing our bags and incorporate any scars or imperfections in the leather into our bags. We consider it part of the design process and believe it makes the bags all the more unique. Any scraps we can’t use, we donate to schools for the children to work with. And most recently have been donating small bags of leather to Charity Shops for them to sell.

My love for up cycling (mainly furniture in my home) transferred over to my bags, when I started putting vintage bow ties on my clutch bags for embellishment. This led us to win an Award for Highly Commended Best Fashion Accessory in 2012. Since then, we have introduced the Tie Clutch, which has a vintage tie as embellishment.

7) So you’ve collaborated with Jasper Garvida for his Éthologie SS15 collection at ME hotel on Saturday, how did this happen and what are you most excited for from the collaboration?

My Production Manager, Lucy, used to work with Jasper, he was searching for a leather handbag designer and their friendship brought on the collaboration. We are excited about our brand debuting at London Fashion Week, we don’t know what to expect, but we’re excited it’s happening.

8) What are you looking forward to about this year’s fashion week? Any trend predictions?

We are just looking forward to taking in the atmosphere and seeing our bags with Jasper’s clothes. As a brand we don’t really follow trends, as we try to maintain a tran-seasonal feel to our collection. Our bags are designed to last. I think my favourite upcoming trends are Poolside tailoring and sports luxe (purely because my rucksack looks so good with it!).

9) If you had one style of bag that had to last to the end of time, what would it be?

A Harriet Sanders leather rucksack

10) What’s next for Harriet Sanders?

We’re looking to do trade shows abroad and with the launch of our new website, we are hoping to reach more people.

We cannot thank Harriet enough for creating such a beautiful collection to go alongside the SS15 collection this Saturday for London Fashion Week. We’re so excited!

The Éthologie team

Writing: Bethany Keen
Interviewer and Graphics: Miranda Willan

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