Allow us to introduce you to the UK-based accessory designers we’re most excited about right now – and the starter bags to buy from them.
The quest for a bag that will last is an ongoing saga littered with threadbare totes, flaking pleather and broken handles. But no longer shall we indulge in fleeting pretty things that are here one moment and gone the next. Instead, we’re investing in bags that can lug our belongings to and from the office and weather the storm of a night out.
Because in the long run, buying an expertly crafted bag from an independent British designer is good for your purse and your conscience. You’re buying something that will be with you for years, reducing the amount of material that ends up in landfill. You’re supporting small, homegrown brands, rather than filling the coffers of huge multinationals. And you’ll end up with something lovely by your side every day. Seems like a win-win-win to us.
Below, we’ve tracked down five independent British handbag designers making beautiful cross-body bags, backpacks and more.
Founded by Anna Kreeger in 2011, Cambridgeshire-based M.Hulot rustles up timeless pieces that are inspired by everything from modernist architecture to the traditional dress of Yemeni fisherman. Equal parts sophisticated and playful, this sprightly coloured crossbody goes by the name ‘Poppered Howe’ and has summer ice cream dreams written all over it .
Lost Property Office
Everything from leather connoisseur Lost Property Office is designed in the capital, with makers striving to source materials responsibly and to eliminate waste in the production process. The brand has kindly made your dream saddle bag – complete with detachable strap. Sling it on and prance forth with all the confidence of a prize mare!
Hopeful by name, hopeful by nature, all of this brand’s bags are ethically produced and made by artisans based in the UK. Oh, and did we mention that the label is a micro-manufacturer? Which means that all items are commissioned in little batches and put together in small facilities, reducing the production carbon footprint while ensuring that all workers are paid fairly.
And this particular bag embodies style and practicality. The perfect size for all your daily essentials, it can be worn across your body or slung over your shoulder. And as it’s white, it’ll go with every outfit.
The brainchild behind Weald Handmade is Sarah Barlow. A self-taught pattern cutter, her thoughtful label champions no-waste products that last a lifetime. Working out of her attic in Leigh-on-Sea, Barlow applies a slow fashion philosophy to everything she designs and never uses factories or sewing machines, meaning that each product is unique. The perfectly weathered beauty Hattie cross body is made from 100% tanned leather.
Founded by a family of creatives, Alfie Douglas designs sleek, minimalistic accessories using natural, biodegradable leather. Everything is handmade on traditional workbenches by English craftspeople using skills that have been passed down through generations. This handy bag can be a backpack one minute and then a shoulder number the next – ingenious.
A version of this content was originally published in Stylist’s sister email Emerald Street, now Stylist Loves. Find out more and subscribe for similar stories direct to your inbox
Main image: Alfie Douglas