her mini Envelope bag
Sophie Hulme - Newish handbag designer & British, I like this girl because she is almost 'up there' with the best of them, her story is an interesting one, hope you enjoy her story and her bags.
Sophie Hulme is a designer, who
founded her eponymous label mere months before the bubble burst and recession loomed and came, Despite having won plaudits for her graduate collection, including Student of the Year and Best Collection, Hulme decided to branch out from her training in clothing
design into accessories. Here she is quoted as saying:
“When I showed my final collection at college there was a lot of interest,” she says. “So I decided to make a small pilot collection to see if there
was enough interest from buyers. It then just snowballed really, so I started by testing the water and went from there.
“I worked with various London designers while I was still at university. It’s a real lesson in the actual workings
of a business and how much work goes into everything aside from the design. That was an important lesson to learn, because I think people often overlook all the other work when aspiring to start a label.”
Really it was 2008
when Hulme’s military-themed debut collection, presented for autumn/winter 2008, included bags, hats and outerwear – silver-sequinned parkas and bow-swagged bombers – and was picked up by a small selection of London buyers. Since that first
collection then, Hulme’s aesthetic has been pared back and refined, although it stays true to the same early source of inspiration: “I always return to looking at old menswear and reworking it into womenswear,” says Hulme. “I
love the practicality and straightforwardness of menswear. Military surplus always has amazing details and at the moment I am really into the Soviet surplus from the Eighties. The colours and fabrications are amazing.”
it is for her accessories that Hulme is most renowned. In 2011, she was part of the British Fashion Council’s Talent Launchpad, in conjunction with Elle, which provided Hulme with support to show at London Fashion Week for two seasons. Last November,
Hulme added another trophy to the mantel when she took home the British Fashion Award for Emerging Talent – Accessories, for her “iconic bag designs that have gained global attention”. So just what is it about Hulme’s bags that are
One of Hulme’s signature styles is the Armour Tote: a cleanly-cut, capacious leather bag embellished simply with brass handle frames and available in a variety of rich colours. This is a bag that is spotted
on the fashion-week front row season after season, withstanding seasonal flights of fancy. “My aesthetic is intentionally not trend-led,” says Hulme, whose designs echo the luxurious, logo-free minimalism of her personal style icon, Phoebe Philo’s
work at Celine. “My customers can keep things for a long time and build them into a personal wardrobe.” This is demonstrated in a look from her spring/summer 13 collection.
The totes, clutch bags and mini-messengers
that are central to Hulme’s collections are a constant, although as her collection has developed, she has experimented more with colours and contrasts. Each season, Hulme – who lives in a converted toy factory – creates a brass charm, which
is sent to editors along with their invite and incorporated into the styling of the show. When the collections arrive at Hulme’s impressive roster of stockists, including Selfridges, Net-a-Porter and Liberty, each piece comes with the particular
charm of the season.
The fashion world has latched on to this little touch of whimsy, and now Hulme sells them in gold to be worn as jewellery, or kept as trinkets by collectors. “The inspiration for the charms just
comes from things around me – so they normally are quite personal,” explains Hulme. “I like the idea of adding value to everyday things we overlook by making them in gold – like the gold chip fork [from autumn/winter 2009], for example.
I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m overly sentimental but I do like the idea of making things that last and have a story – to me they represent the idea of collecting things and building a personal collection.”
Sleek shapes &
clean lines define for me Sophie Hulme's handbag collections, a look that is always great and easy to wear.
Stockists: London - Selfridges or Liberty