Hubert Burda Media

Sophie Hulme comes to Lane Crawford

Handbag designer Sophie Hulme, who will be in Hong Kong next week, gives us a preview of her new pop-up shop at Lane Crawford.

Where do you find your inspiration from and how do you turn it into your designs?

I’m inspired by all kinds of things; it comes from everywhere! I love to travel and go on lots of research trips to vintage places, flea markets and galleries, but I also really love to find inspiration in the ordinary and the recognizable – especially with our charms. I like to find ordinary things and make them special in gold, to give value to things we often take for granted or hold special childhood memories of such as chip forks and straws! With handbags, I like to make sure all the elements add to the functionality of the bag as well as the form. Then I like to consider a bag’s longevity, I’m not very trend led and I love the idea of a wardrobe being made up of items from various seasons, so I consider how I’d feel about a bag in a few seasons time.  Then we always try to put our own spin on them, so they feel unique, it’s important to me that the brand has a certain playful yet intelligent humour. As much as I want the bags to be timeless, they’re handbags and can’t be taken too seriously!

Sophie Hulme

What gave you the courage to start your brand only two months after graduating from university? 

During my final year at college, my graduate collection was really well received with a lot of interest from press and stores, which was amazing and gave me the confidence to try it. I then decided that I’d pilot a small sample collection – a really nice, finished version of the things I’d already made at Kingston to see what the response would be. I took it to a trade show and it got picked up by Selfridges in London! So I had to start producing it straight away and it all started from there. I had never really thought of starting my own brand before then.

Your bags have a lot to do with practicality and functionality. What are the criteria that make a good handbag?

Handbags to me are simply beautifully designed objects. I feel they should always be timeless, practical and functional with an element of newness, which makes them exciting.

How do you feel about the collaboration with Lane Crawford?

I love Lane Crawford! They’ve been a great partner for us for a while now, so we’re so happy to be opening pop-up shops in both the Hong Kong and China stores this month! We have designed lots of specials for the opening and we’re also exclusively launching our evening bag range with them, which is so exciting.  It features signature elements from the core collection but made out of plexiglass material with fun glitter highlights. We have spent such a long time developing to make them as beautiful as they are functional and they are also the inspiration behind the pop-up concept, so we really can’t wait to see it all come to life in the stores.

Do you have any style advice for women when it comes to choosing a bag, especially their first big purchase?

I think for a first big purchase it’s especially important to choose something classic and timeless that isn’t seasonal or trend led. There are so many trends that come and go each season in the accessories market that it can be hard to keep up! A cross body style such as our Finsbury or the Milner would be a great first choice as they look great on every woman and serve multiple occasions. They can be worn dressed down with a cool jeans outfit – especially in a fun pop of colour, or styled up with heels and a dress for the perfect night out. It’s also a great style for the woman who carries a lot of items day to day as can be worn with a larger tote at the same time.