Accessories designer Sophie Hulme was in town to celebrate the launch of her collaboration with Lane Crawford with a cocktail. The designer has created a series of styles exclusive to the luxury store. Hulme’s iconic tote gets an update with an eye-catching “I heart SH” logo and is now rendered in the season’s hottest mini-bag version. We talked to the designer about her work and inspiration. 

1. What is the inspiration for the Compton tote?

The Compton tote is a classic tote which is based on the original Albion tote. We wanted to make an evening- wear version of this bag. The idea is to have all of these rivets on each handle to make them super strong. I wanted something different for evening wear.

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2. Where did the idea for the theme “love” come from? 
I got married in May, which is originally when I was producing that collection, and so it's kind of celebrating marriage and celebrating love, and everything comes with this charm. I quite like the idea of taking something feminine and sort of sweet like love, and then dealing with it in a more tough way. I think that's a nice mix. 

3. Do you have a favourite bag from the collection?
I really love the evening bag and I also use it during the day, because it's quite fun [when matched] with denims. I love this innate glitter. 

4. Any tips for young designers?

It’s really important to be honest with yourself about what you like, what’s special about you and what you find interesting and exciting. I think often in fashion, people feel they need to follow or do what other people are doing. But I think the most important thing is to offer something different and it has to come from you. You have to really believe in what you like, and that's certainly how I work.

15 minutes with designer Sophie Hulme

5. What is the most important element in designing a bag? 
I think quality is the most important thing, and what I really do is try to make sure that we use the best possible leather we can. Also, the design needs to be timeless. The other thing that is important for me is that everything is sourced from Europe and made in Europe, which means we are able to spend a lot of time in factories and learn with the people and also to make sure they are doing what we want them to do. 

6. What made you transform a toy factory into your headquarters?

It was a toy factory a long time ago, and then it became a studio for a graphic designer who met with lots of artists. Francis Bacon had been there. And then it became a house, and now I’ve made it into a studio. What’s great about a factory space is that you've got lots of horizontal space and we have an open plan office, which is quite important for a brand. And the poetry of it being a toy factory is amazing. I love being inspired by childhood and toys and things like that. For me, that’s really special.

7. How did you enjoy collaborating with Lane Crawford?

We’ve worked with Lane Crawford for three years, and they have always been great. I think the customers at Lane Crawford like something new and exciting, so you want to give them something exclusive. Also, they really care about quality, and they understand good value for money. As a designer, it is really nice to have partners whose customers really understand these things, because you spend a lot of time working on the details, and you want the consumers to see that. The benefit of [us] being a smaller brand is that we can design special and new things –we can offer something different from the big brands.