We love talking to designers about what inspires their amazing brands. The latest in our interview series sees our Editor Natasha talk with Poppy Nadal, Art and Product Development Director for The Original Satchel Store.
Take a look at what inspires Poppy and why she loves putting her heart and soul into her designs.
Poppy, please give us a little insight into your creative background.
I trained in fine art at Central St. Martins in London, and I always admired the creations of the Fashion Department – I guess I was attracted by their genius. I love art in all its forms and live for it. I always saw myself as an artist and designer. When I started working for Original Satchel Store, I was in London, at that time I was working with an amazing set designer, creating sets prior to various fashion weeks. I designed for catwalks and shoots for fashion magazines. I guess the Original Satchel Store was attracted by my artistic universe and the previous collaborations I did. I was handling the art direction first for the company and that led naturally to having ideas for new bags. So they invited me to join the team for good, and I haven’t regretted it for a second.
Who has been your creative influence?
I’ve always seen my mother painting after work, and as a child I would sit with her and talk about colours. I always enjoyed painting with her. My dad is a passionate winemaker; I guess that’s another type of art! My sisters are in the arts as well.
Tell us your key inspirations for your design and concepts?
The leading design in our Run to the Sun Collection, the Hera, is inspired by a mix of the pure abstract paintings of Piet Mondrian, together with inspiration from my favourite fashion designer Issey Miyake and the drapery of ancient sculptures. When we did the photoshoot for the collection we took the models to Cadaques in Spain. It was a favourite place for artists like Magritte, Matisse and Picasso. The sea is impossibly azure and the light is unique in this white city. Run to the Sun became the obvious name for the collection. “Place” is also important to me; to be in the right environment to create day after day. I had amazing experiences and inspirations in London and Paris, but right now Barcelona is perfect for me. I have my studio here where I work with ceramics and also design my bags.
What is the essence of the label?
Hip, vintage styling with an authentic cool and international appeal. Each satchel is crafted by hand. Each one is unique, no two satchels are ever the same, each one is a work of art and we love creating them.
Let us know why The Original Satchel Store stands out in this competitive industry?
Apart from the fact that we are the only satchel company with an in-house designer, I would say the care and attention to detail that we invest into crafting our satchels speaks volumes. Our satchels are crafted by skilled leather artisans who still work with traditional craft tools deep in the heart of the English countryside. No computers, no automation, no assembly-line. Just hand and eye co-ordination, traditional techniques, a love for leather and an instinct for knowing when a leather bag is ‘just perfect.’ As soon as we receive an order our leather craftsmen and women set to work making the satchel. Before it leaves our crafting workshop, every satchel is hand checked. The overall look is assessed, every inch of stitching is reviewed, the buckles and straps are tested. Only when we are completely satisfied that the satchel is as good as we can possibly make it, is it then sent to be hand packed and delivered.
Are there enough opportunities for emerging designers to showcase their designs and enter this competitive industry?
That’s a good question. After living and working in both London and Paris I can say it’s very complicated for young designers to break through, it can be a simple question of who you know and how you do. Making those contacts means putting yourself out there, really thickening your skin against rejection and the long hours you’ll work on projects and not get paid for the “experience”. But, you have to do it none the less, because you never know who you’ll meet on each project and where that may lead.
Is the fashion industry campaigning enough for boutique labels and recognising emerging talent?
It depends on what fashion house you’re talking about. There is definitely a role for fashion media to shine a spotlight on young artists, but they mainly focus on labels that are established which makes it hard for solid designers and new products to get the exposure they need to break through. There’s so much talent out there that simply fades away while the larger designers keep pumping out the same thing, because it sells, not because of its style, vision and design, but simply because of a name. That’s not fashion.
Who is The Original Satchel Store’s ideal customer?
Our customers are hugely important to us. So, however many satchels we create, we will never lose sight of the fact that each customer is an individual. We are a company made up of customers, just like the people who buy our bags. We treat our customers how we would expect to be treated, with love, passion and understanding. Our customers are based all over the world; everywhere in fact where individuals put a premium on fashion that never fades, who understand that tradition and modernity are not in conflict, who know that true style never goes out of style.
What has been your most memorable success to date?
There are some things I’m hugely proud of. In the early days of the Original Satchel Store, we were contacted by the Fashion Editor of VOGUE who asked if we could make a pink satchel with VOGUE embossed in gold for a photoshoot, so of course we did and I remember how super excited we were about it. Supermodel Daisy Lowe has one of our satchels, as does Spanish supermodel Eugenia Silva. We also made a bag for Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize. That was very special.
Describe the most challenging stage of bringing the company into public focus?
Exposure; being an online-driven brand we find that with the ever evolving algorithms of search engines we have so much work to do in the back office and not in the design studio. It’s also frustrating when other brands in the same field copy our ideas. In a way we’re flattered, it just means we’re one step ahead of the game.
What is The Original Satchel Store’s signature style?
The thinking behind the brand was to launch a range of beautifully designed and beautifully made satchels and other leather bags all linked by vintage style, durability, lovingly handmade in England and competitively priced. We are a fashion forward brand with a diverse range including striking ‘unique to us’ printed leather designs.
What are the key images you want to portray when people see or hear the brand name?
Life should be fun, exciting, passionate and full of colour. Our bags embody the maxim that life is for living. Be counter intuitive.
On a personal note, how would you describe your style?
Colours fill my wardrobe, that’s for sure. I like to find select pieces by my favourite designers that really express my ideals on lines and cuts. It’s important to have classic pieces rather than just impulse buys. Life is about making statements; each and every day represents a different side to you and your mood and your wardrobe should reflect that.
What is your hope for the future of The Original Satchel Store?
The Original Satchel Store team is fantastic, like one big family, and we want to share our collective vision as a label with the world. We have a voice and an identity that we hope speaks to everyone. The bags we have in development are really cutting edge and risky and I can’t wait to showcase them. We would like our range to be available in local boutiques and international department stores that echo our collective vision of style and fashion.
Thank you so much to Poppy for giving us an invaluable insight into her creative journey. Check out The Original Satchel Store for unique and fashionable satchels and gift ideas.