VVA Handbags - Designer Spotlight
What if we told you there's a single bag out there suitable for every occasion and every trend? Impossible, you say? VVA Handbags begs to differ.
To say we're a fan of wardrobe investments over being a slave to the trends would be an understatement. For those who seek after eternal style, becoming a slave to the trends can not only be costly, but tiresome too - who really wants to trudge round the high street on a Saturday fighting the crowds for a clutch that will likely begin to fall apart after a particularly enthusiastic night out?
Of course, that's not to say we can't all indulge in some ethical fast fashion trends from time to time, but what about the accessories we need to make a capsule wardrobe truly great? Let's face it, sticking with the same tote bag from season to season and occasion to occasion can be boring.
But, it doesn't have to be and Sarah Haran, founder of label VVA Handbags is out to prove it with her innovative collection of adaptable handbags. Operating on the concept of accessorising the bag to suit the occasion,the collection of VVA Handbags is focused on making one foundation bag (available in five different styles) suitably multi purpose for every situation. Each VVA Handbag acts as a canvas, with the ability to add and remove different accessories such as tassels and straps according to the wearer's whim - giving the owner the ability to transition a bag through the seasons in mere seconds.
A revolutionary concept, indeed, we caught up with Sarah to find out more about the brains the brand:
Hi Sarah! A bag that can be adapted to fit the seasons is genius! Where did it all begin?
I came up with the VVA concept a few years ago. I’d love to say it was conscious decision or an epiphany, but to be honest, it was never a deliberate plan. The idea developed from a combination of different influences in my life rather than from one idea. As a director of an AIM listed IT Services company, traveling every week with meetings during the day and functions in the evening and being faced with baggage restrictions I knew first hand that having a multi-functional handbag would be useful. I saw an opportunity to address my travel frustrations by creating a handbag concept that could transform from travel to business to play. My idea was to combine functionality and versatility with style – utilising the very best leather and metal components. The VVA concept was born.
Tell us about the first bag you ever designed.
The first handbag I designed was pretty unimpressive and was to take on holiday! I began designing it as a hobby to be honest - I had always had a creative background and learned to sew when I was about 11. I used to make my own clothes from 14 and then went on to make interior products (such as cushions, bedding and curtains) so it felt quite achievable to design a handbag! The original bag was made of denim with piping and buttons to decorate.
Your creations have a very timeless style. What do you think is the key to keeping a wardrobe that never goes out of style?
Whilst I am not a stylist or anything like that, I have always thought that purchasing key staples for my wardrobe was the way to go. I always tend to save up for key pieces - things like a beautiful coat or jacket, wrap dresses, and pencil skirts for work for instance never go out of fashion. For evening of course every girl has the little black dress in her wardrobe and I think spicing up staple looks with on trend accents stops a timeless style looking stale.
VVA is a Made in Britain brand. What have been the biggest challenges and rewards of choosing to keep manufacturing in the UK?
When I started VVA one of the values that I wanted for the business was to have handbags made in Britain. I never wanted to be designing handbags that ended up being made in high volume in faraway places. It was fine in the very beginning when we had lower numbers of handbags needed and they were all produced in our home studio. However this wasn’t sustainable as demand grew so we had to start to look for manufacturing.
The first big challenge was actually finding a manufacturer and once we did it was the whole process of set up. The costs are very high but the reward has been that we have full control over our supply chain and our manufacturing. If there are any discussions needed we can feasibly pop along to see them!
SS16 is fully underway. What’s your favourite piece from the SS2016 collection and why?
I have been really pleased with the pastel pallet that we have added to the VVA collection this season. The soft pastels in lemon, grey and hydrangea blue are beautiful and the great thing is these colours will actually carry you through high summer to early Autumn. Particularly if you twin the colours with some of our early Autumn pieces.
Autumn/Winter 16/17 is already on our mind. What’s in store for VVA?
We are very excited about the coming season. We have just launched two new handbag styles to our range – the Poppy and the Aster. Both continue the concept of having the removable Ivy that you can switch up onto the bag and use as a separate handbag. The Poppy is a more relaxed satchel style handbag and the Aster is a multi-purpose shoulder bag. We are really pleased with both these designs and we really think they will enhance the range.
The first LUX at Rox event brought luxury back to the consumer on an intimate level – something that is uncommon in today’s marketplace. What direction do you foresee the luxury fashion industry heading in over the next few years?
It’s an interesting question as the industry has to develop to compete in an ever more global and connected world. Instagram and Facebook have opened up the “inside story” on brands but at the same time they and I guess the internet has almost taken away the intimacy that a brand might have had with its customer base in the past. I think the fashion industry has to respond to this by bringing back the intimacy, making shoppers feel special so that they develop more loyalty and allegiance. Harnessing the connected world via social media is a great opportunity and if designers can make shoppers feel part of what the designer is doing, that’s probably the way to build a following that will develop loyalty. Stores themselves could then project the intimacy with different store concepts that are more personalized rather than being carbon copies of each other. That’s a big move, mind you, so I do look forward to seeing a steady evolution rather than a revolution!
What inspires you as a designer?
I am very inspired by function over form and I love clean lines and uncluttered looks and mixing vintage with new. I love creating beautiful handbags but I want them to be functional and stylish rather than something that doesn’t aid your everyday life. It sounds odd but the inspiration I get in creating something that is so personal to each wearer yet is an everyday “must have” inspires me to ensure my handbags provide functional versatility.
Just think, women often use the same handbag every day and they take it everywhere with them, and panic if they cannot find it. I get excited knowing that my handbag are carried everywhere by my fans – it’s got to be with them as it often carries the contents of their life.
Finally, the question on all bloggers minds – what’s in your VVA handbag?
Haha, my life! Obviously with all the pockets I provide, it’s like a mini filing cabinet. Make-up in the zip pocket, sunglasses in the slip pocket, receipts and “must never lose” things in the front pocket Ivy. Then I have my keys attached to the internal key chain , that way I am never left digging for my keys. I have papers for work and often my computer and of course my note pad (slipped into another pocket alongside the pen pocket) as I often just sit down and design the next VVA handbag!
More About VVA Handbags
Carrying your life about in your bag is a sentiment very true to a Scottish Bitch, indeed. To carry such an important thing should be ferried about in style, no less.
To view the full collection, head on over to VVA Handbags here.
Which of the VVA Handbags is your favourite? Would you swap out fast fashion for a customisable investment piece? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!