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Interview with Anya Hindmarch

Anya Hindmarch

The quintessential British designer, Anya Hindmarch is internationally renowned for instilling her exquisitely-crafted designs with a sense of humour, whether it be via a leather-punched smiley face or one of the brand’s innovative stickers. With our Christmas lists very much in mind, we quizzed Anya on her much-coveted, motorway-inspired Autumn/Winter 2015 collection and the bags she can’t leave the house without… 

Your designs are renowned for their quirkiness, but also quality; how do you go about balancing the two?

Craftsmanship, personalisation and humour are three of the things we are most known for and that sit at the heart of everything we do. We are inspired by everyday familiar items, which we give a luxurious makeover using beautiful materials. 

“I think there’s a braveness to design in the UK, a bending of rules and an entrepreneurial spirit that is unique to British design. It is an exciting time for British fashion.”

What was your initial starting point for your Autumn/Winter 2015 collection and how did the idea evolve?

There is something about being on the M25 with a clear road and the combination of lights, reflective surfaces and your favourite piece of music that can put you into a wonderful (safe!) driving trance. I love the iconic graphic signage, with its purity and efficiency of message, and the subtle humour that’s created when it’s used in an unexpected way. It is these elements that I explored in the collection this season, through quite complicated techniques, such as leather marquetry and thermal bonding. 

Where do you tend to find your greatest inspiration?

I find inspiration in anything and everything. People inspire me, as well as architecture, travel and chocolate! I’m a big believer in feeding your brain. It is amazing how ideas bank and come to fruition at some point much later. Our Crisp Packet Clutch was quite literally inspired by a packet of crisps – you can tell we eat in our office – and my love of giving everyday items the luxury treatment.

What part of the design process do you enjoy the most?

I have the most wonderful team - we call ourselves the AH family. Laughter (and cake) is our lifeblood. We have fun doing what we do but work incredibly hard, too. I am obsessed by craftsmanship, the leathers we use and how things are made; craftsman are my celebrity and I have a real passion for leatherwork. Every part of the process is challenging but I wouldn’t be without it.

What does it mean to be a British designer?

I think there’s a braveness to design in the UK, a bending of rules and an entrepreneurial spirit that is unique to British design. It is an exciting time for British fashion.

Your shows are always a highlight of LFW; is it a goal of yours to lighten the mood during Fashion Month?

I think fashion should make you smile. Our London Fashion Week shows really allow us to transport the industry and our customers into our world (and my head!).

What is your go-to style of handbag?

During the week I need a practical tote that I can carry my life in that is light: The Maxi Featherweight Ebury. Mine is smothered in stickers; I love the fact that it’s a ‘grown-up’ bag with an unexpected element of fun. At the weekend I like the Smiley Cross Body Bag - it’s modest but still fun - and for evenings I love the Crisp Packet Clutch. 

What do you always have in your handbag?

Another bag if you can believe it; I tend to carry a few at once, I call it my Russian doll effect. I use the Maxi Featherweight Ebury - it takes me everywhere, from travelling to a day in the office. It's also incredibly light and fits my life in it, including my Georgiana - an oversized soft leather clutch. Even if I don't have an event in the evening, I will often use it to go to meetings when I don't need lots of 'stuff'. It has a giant tassel that I hang on the outside of my larger bag for a little fun, but it also makes it easy to find!

Discover what joins the Smiley Cross Body Bag in this month's Chic Sheet.

Shop our Anya Hindmarch edit below.

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