Celebrated fashion designer, Anya Hindmarch, is famous for her iconic bags, accessories, eco-campaigns and now festival wristbands. Her bespoke design for the 2023 summer season at Yurtel has the trademark Anya humour, something she feels accessories should do – make you smile. We chat to her about progress rather than perfection, craftsmanship, sustainability, luxury and invention.
Tell us how you got into bag design?
I was travelling in Florence as a teenager and saw this amazing shape bag that everyone was carrying. I managed to persuade a factory to make me up a small run in my own design which I quickly sold….it all grew from there really.
Humour is such a big part of your designs, was that always the case?
I love the power of accessories for the way they can make you feel. Being able to share a moment of joy or make someone smile is a wonderful thing and will always be an important part of what we do.
You talk about re-connecting the craftsmen with the customer, why is that important to you?
In truth, the craftsmen are the real heroes of the Anya Hindmarch story. We use traditional techniques and luxurious materials to make our bags and accessories which are important to preserve. Showing these techniques and processes brings the product alive.
How did the I Am A Plastic Bag collection come about?
We created the I Am A Plastic Bag collection in a bid to reuse some of the 8 billion tonnes of plastic that is currently on the planet. The collection is made from an innovative cotton-canvas like material that is made entirely from recycled bottles that we are diverting from landfill. It really started from the understanding that when you throw something away, there really is no away.
How does sustainability drive the brand?
We have 10 years to fix this climate crisis and it is something that I am acutely aware of – both how fashion can impact in a negative way but also in a hugely positive way. Fashion can be a fantastic platform for communication and change. Lots of projects that we have worked on, and are working on, are trying to make sure that we do everything that we can to do our bit and to make a difference. Our mantra is ‘progress not perfection’ and we are working on some exciting projects to continue our journey.
Your designs and ideas are so fresh and inventive, where do you find the most inspiration?
I see inspiration everywhere actually. I think it is important to feed your brain and I love going to exhibitions, galleries and shows. I think London is pretty much the best city in the world and I love living on the doorstep of so much going on.
What does luxury mean to you?
Having built a hugely successful global brand, what have been your favourite moments?
Too many to mention but I am proud of where we are now, I am proud of my team and I am excited about what is to come!
Favourite building – the green London taxi huts
Favourite city – London
Favourite restaurant – Any of the Olivo restaurants in Belgravia. Lots of happy memories!
Favourite designer – Ossie Clark
Favourite hotel – Claridges