Located in Harbour City – arguably Hong Kong’s luxury retail forefront – amongst the biggest designer names in fashion, is newcomer Anya Hindmarch. Trademarked for her tongue-in-cheek humorous designs, the British leather goods and accessories label has made its way across the waters to Hong Kong by growing demand. Her everyday-inspired creations are characterised by a refreshing animated energy filled with wit and sass – recall her signature collections such as cereal box handbags, crisp packet clutches, and rainbow accents.
We chat with the mastermind behind the whimsical creative to see what goes into her designs, what to expect from the much-anticipated new store, and special exclusives only available for her Hong Kong fanbase.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a designer? When did you hear your true calling?
When I was nineteen and living in Italy I noticed that all the stylish Florentine women were wearing a drawstring leather bucket bag. I loved its shape, style and the ease with which it was worn and it made me realise how powerful accessories can be in forming a perception of a woman. When I returned to England, I approached Harper’s & Queen magazine (as it was then known) about a special commission. I designed a bag for a special reader offer for the magazine; five hundred were sold and the Anya Hindmarch brand was born.
Tell us about the Gucci bag that started it all.
It was my first designer handbag — my mother’s old Gucci bag — I was 16 and I cherished it. I still remember so clearly the feeling it gave me. I think from there I knew what I wanted to do. I became obsessed with the idea of working with leather and learning the skills involved to be able to. I’m still learning actually.
If you weren’t a handbag designer, what would you be doing?
An opera singer if you can believe it. The nuns at my school were quite encouraging!
Your creations are known for its whimsy and humour. Where do you get your inspiration from? What’s your creative process like?
A thousand things and people inspire me — I find inspiration in anything and everything, from architecture to travel and chocolate. Laughter is our lifeblood at AH HQ which I think comes through in the product. Laughter and cake. I’m a big believer in feeding your brain. It is amazing how ideas bank and come to fruition at some point much later.
Fashion is an incredibly important business but we aren’t saving lives – I think it should make you smile. What you put on in the morning can quite literally change the mood you woke up with.
You’ve created some very iconic pieces. If you were to be known for one single design, which would it be?
That’s like asking me to choose a favourite child, don’t tempt me!
Which bag are you currently carrying?
Ironically, I’m the last in the company to switch up my bag every season. But that’s mainly because they become quite loyal friends and I am still enjoying wearing that piece. I do often borrow samples when I’m going somewhere that evening so I have the best of both worlds. At the moment I’m wearing the chubby barrel crossbody in marine from our new Chubby Collection, which I love, it’s the perfect little bag.
What’s inside your Anya Hindmarch bag?
My children think I have OCD. I love to label everything – which perhaps stems back to school, when our names were stitched onto our gym kits. Out of this obsession I developed a collection devoted to organisation, called Labelled. All in light nylon with a leather trim. Each pouch, in varying shapes and sizes, creates a place for everything and makes everything easier to locate when you’re on the go. I carry the ‘Cables and Chargers’ and the ‘Girlie Stuff’ which hold my lip balm and emergency hairbands.
What is it about Hong Kong and Asia that you like the most?
I am fascinated by the architecture of the modern skyline and how the city retains its traditions. I love the contrast of taking the Star Ferry and watching the skyline from a distance.
What’s in store for Anya Hindmarch in Hong Kong?
Following Chubby Clouds, a three-day experiential event we held during London Fashion Week to launch the Autumn Winter Chubby Collection, I am really excited to launch the store in Harbour City this Saturday [22 September] and bring our new Chubby Collection to Hong Kong!