If, like me, a day rarely goes by without you checking the Matches website then you’ll no doubt have spotted the work of Sophie Anderson. Given how bright her deliciously colourful, bold patterned, hand crafted handbags are, it’s pretty hard to miss them. Since launching her label in 2011 Sophie Anderson’s eclectic creations have been something of a sartorial sensation. Having lived everywhere from Kuwait to Columbia and worked as yoga teacher and interior stylist, Sophie’s own journey to accessory stardom is equally fascinating. I caught up with the globe trotting designer to talk inspirations, aspirations and of course, travel…
LPA: Born in Kuwait and raised in Oman, I think it’s fair to say you’ve had a fairly exotic upbringing. How do you feel this has influenced your creative process and design aesthetic?
SA: I think wherever we are we absorb the environment in a way that influences and inspires our creatively. My travels and up bringing, not only added more inspiration and ideas to my work but form an enormous part of my personality and also Sophie Anderson as a brand.
LPA: Having grown up in Oman, travelled extensively and launched your brand while living in South America, I can imagine adjusting to London life could have been quite a shock to the system. What prompted your decision to relocate here? How does it compare to the other places you’ve lived?
SA: We loved living in South America, but that’s life sadly, all great adventures come to an end. I cried and cried leaving Colombia. I just love the excitement and unfamiliarity of living abroad. It keeps everything real.
LPA: I was interested to learn that you first trained in Montessori Education then as a Yoga teacher and then also worked in interior design before turning your hand to fashion. What drove these changes of career direction? Do you think now you’ll stick with accessories or could something else be on the cards?
SA: None of it was planned it just happened like that. I loved all of them and still do, I think in this world it’s important to be able to be interested and capable in many skills…. with the Sophie Anderson brand who knows! Let’s see if all the Wayuu weavers continue their magic and don’t take too many ‘Sacred Ritual festivals’ throughout valuable production time again!
LPA: Since launching the Sophie Anderson brand in 2011, your designs have been picked up by numerous top stockist including Matches, Browns and Fenwicks. Did you have a clear cut business/PR strategy or was it a case of right time right place?
SA: I was a very lucky person in the right place at the right time …. I had no idea what I was doing! I had very few weavers when I first started. Since the launch in October 2011, I was lucky to meet people who share the same passion of fun, vibrant colours and designs as I do. Now it’s a matter of jumping on a plane and getting back to the desert searching for hundreds more to increase the demands.
LPA: How would you describe your personal style? Do you follow trends or read fashion magazines?
SA: Summer is my season; it really brings out the true me I could say I blossom during summer. As for trends I do not tend to follow them; It doesn’t really interest me. I much prefer individuality. I believe everyone has a unique colour and that’s how they should be.
LPA: Which other designers do you particularly rate and why?
SA: I like many of course so it’s difficult to pick, but I particularly like….Temperley, Dolce Gabbana as I find them romantic and flirtatious. I also love Vintage as they have so much character and history behind them.
LPA: Who, dead or alive, would you most like to see wearing your designs?
SA: Id love to do a photo shoot of the beautiful young Wayuu Girls in the desert wearing all their mothers woven work, wearing any designer outfits they wanted! That would be so fun …. My dear friend and Photographer Hannah Dakin – would come with me and we would have the most amazing time shooting it- I would then take her to go and party in Cartagena!
LPA: What’s next for Sophie Anderson? Could you ever see yourself expanding into ready-to-wear?
SA: I’d like to think so… but for now I am just going to focus on what I have and keep it tight. But who knows what will happen in the future, the possibilities are endless.
Love Ella. X