British designer Sophie Hulme is fast becoming a celebrity favourite. First launched in 2012, her refined and sleek bags have been spotted on the ever stylish Emma Watson, Kate Hudson and Carey Mulligan among others.
The designer recently collaborated with I.T to set up a pop-up store at I.T’s Hysan shop. Hulme talks to STYLE about her design philosophy, her daily essentials and the must-have accessory for the season.
1. What is your design philosophy?
I think of a handbag as a beautifully designed object. I make sure all the elements add to the functionality of the bag as well as the form. Then I’d consider a bag’s longevity. I’m not [a great follower of trends], and I love the idea of a wardrobe made up of items from various seasons, so I’d consider how I’d feel about a bag in a few seasons’ time. And I always try to put my own spin on them so they feel unique. It’s important to me that the brand has a certain playfulness to it.
2. How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is quite clean. I love a pair of tailored trousers with good heels – it always looks chic. I also love block colours – they add a bit of fun. I mainly mix designer pieces with vintage. This keeps the vintage pieces looking modern.
3. Is there a ‘Sophie Hulme’ girl? Who is your style muse?
I never design with a particular woman in mind. I try to design beautiful things that can be worn in lots of different ways. I love seeing my bags being worn on the street. It’s interesting to see people [incorporating] them into their own style. I’ve also always loved my Mum’s style in the ’70s. There are old slides of her travelling around America with my Dad in a camper van and she looks amazing!
4. What is your must-have accessory for the season?
My must-have accessory is definitely the Craft square tote from our AW15 range. [The leather bag] has a wooden charm attached to it, and the plates have been stitched on rather than riveted, which adds a lovely handcrafted touch. We’ve also made the charm chain a key ring so you can buy it separately and add it on to any bag from the collection for a similar feel. It comes in multiple colours too.
5. What are the daily essentials in your handbag?
I always have my Sophie Hulme spine wallet. It’s big enough to fit everything in! Then there are my Celine sunglasses, my BY TERRY Touche Veloutee [concealer], my Soleil Tan de Chanel bronzer, my Hello Kitty x bic collaboration pens, a Leuchtturm notebook and my Hello Kitty stickers.
6. Are you a ‘shoeaholic’ or a ‘bagaholic’?
A bagaholic obviously! Though, I do love my Celine loafer-style heels at the moment – they are super chic and they can make a simple outfit look cool and modern.
7. Do you have any interesting upcoming projects or collaborations?
I feel that any new projects in the near future will be a natural extension of the brand and of the products we already have, but there will definitely be a lot of exciting things happening with the brand very soon.
8. What are your goals for the brand?
Over time we will [diversify] into other product categories and our own retail. It is an exciting time for the brand as we are growing so fast and have lots of amazing opportunities. However, I feel very strongly that anything we do should fit in naturally with the brand and be something I can be proud of. I’m not prepared to compromise.