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Arts + Lifestyle

From The Desk Of… Anya Hindmarch

Accessories designer, Anya Hindmarch joins us for the latest instalment of From The Desk Of...

Founding her eponymous label in London in 1987, at the ripe age of 18, Anya Hindmarch’s expertly crafted (and often utterly witty) bags would fast become venerable accessories.

In the 35+ years since, Hindmarch’s work and outputs have been far reaching – aside from her creative pursuits, she has also undertaken a series of sustainability projects, such as the ‘I am a Plastic Bag’ tote, which is made from 32 recycled plastic bottles. In 2017, the designer was awarded a CBE in recognition for her contribution to the British fashion industry, and in 2021 she published her first book, If In Doubt Wash Your Hair. That same year Hindmarch opened The Village on Pont Street in London’s Chelsea – a community of neighbouring stores and a café.

A true innovator, it seems there is no end to Hindmarch’s accomplishments and capabilities. Joining us desk-side, Hindmarch (aka Superwoman) reflects on her career trajectory thus far, and shares the best business advice she’s ever received…


How do you start your days?

A close girlfriend and I go for an early morning walk as often as possible these days. We started this years ago, before lockdown and it  has become one of my favourite parts of the day. It even led to me designing a collection of walking products.

 

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A post shared by Anya Hindmarch (@anyahindmarch)

What’s your go-to uniform?

I have a few pieces in my wardrobe that I return to again and again – a great white shirt, wide leg jeans, a trench, my favourite shirt dress one of our summer baskets at this time of year…

Describe your workspace/ workplace…

My team and I  work in our studio in an old brewery stable block in South London – it is an open, airy, light space. My office, which always has the door open, has the words ‘Creativity Eats Strategy For Breakfast’ on the wall made out of the special Fashion Flakes Kellogg’s boxes we made years ago. A good daily reminder!

Identify something in your workspace that’s special to you… 

My team! They are my work family – I sometimes spend more time with them than my actual family….

What is your lunch order? 

I take my lunch into the office on most days – the contents vary but I always have my pinch tin of Maldon salt with me.

What are your work place essentials? 

Labelled everything – pencil case, lunch box and pouches for everything else. And my labelling machine. I am completely organisation obsessed, which I know makes me sound kind of sad, but I have five children and I run a business. I kind of have to be.

 

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A post shared by Anya Hindmarch (@anyahindmarch)

What time of day are you at your most creative?

Completely depends on the day before!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

It has been a long and fascinating journey to get to where we are today, but I think we have now defined our point of view as ‘Fashion With Purpose’. I am committed to creating responsibly which is both challenging and hugely rewarding.

… and the most challenging?

As a sole founder it can sometimes be a lot to juggle – managing and growing the team and the brand, as well as being Creative Director and tapping into all things artistic. But I’m really lucky in that I have a brilliant team to support me.

What did you study at school/university? 

School was a Catholic convent school in Essex – I have many fond memories of my time there and the pearls of wisdom the Sisters shared with us all.

Where are you from originally?

I was born and brought up in Essex.

What was your first job?

I founded the business when I was 18, straight out of school, so in one sense, I am still in my first job!

What sparked your interest in fashion/accessories?

My mother was incredibly stylish – she handed down one of her treasured Gucci bags to me when I was 18. I will never forget how it made me feel and to me, that is the joy of fashion – it’s power to make us feel great.

Do you have a mentor or an inspirational figure who has guided or influenced you? 

So many people have guided and influenced me throughout my career, but mainly I am so lucky to be surrounded by a group of talented girlfriends whose opinions I trust implicitly.

What are some of the hurdles you had to overcome in the early days of Anya Hindmarch? 

There have been lots of hurdles in building the business and I have made my fair share of mistakes along the way but finding the right partners has been key for me.

What’s the most important business lesson you’ve learned?

Someone once said to me, ‘Anya, you must take the emotion out of this.’ But I thought, actually, no, my business is built on emotion. My business is powered by people who respond to emotion. We all have to be able to show both strength and vulnerability in the workplace.

The best advice you’ve ever received… 

Be brave – trust your gut and know that change, as uncomfortable as it can be, also brings with it huge opportunity.

 

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What are you working on right now? 

New collections, ideas for The Village, gobal partnerships with our Universal Bag, top secret projects – there is always lots going on!

What’s next?

I am committed to creating as responsibly as possible – progress not perfection – but building on our projects to date including Return To Nature and I Am Not A Plastic Bag to continue learning and developing how to build a sustainable business practice and collections.  That, and a few mad, creative projects.

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