Interview: Danielle Foster – Landscapes inspiring leather bags

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Danielle Foster

Elite Management model Danielle Foster launched her eponymous handbag label in 2012, after graduating from the London College of Fashion. Recognised for her minimal aesthetic, she prides herself by the fact that all her handbags are made in London.

SS16’s boxy silhouettes and neutral tones were inspired by the grey Parisian architecture. The crossbody bags are also available in embossed python, and a vibrant yellow that mimics the warm summer sun. “SS16 is devised with a light and earthy toned palette in mind but with a surprising pop of acid yellow,” adds Foster. “I focused on the contrast of the hard signature leather that I use throughout all my collections, but fused it with the softer pebble textured leather.” The shift from hard leather to soft leather being the most substantial shift since starting her label.

In an exclusive sneak peak of Danielle Foster’s AW16, she tells us about her trip to Jordan and how the warmth of the desert informed the textures and colours of next season’s collection.

SS16
SS16

When you first decided on fashion, you didn’t know that you would find yourself in the world of accessories. What was the turning point? 

It was when I first moved to London during my foundation course that I discovered that an Accessory course even existed. From that moment, I gained an interest in accessories. It came quite natural to me.

Do you only use your own handbags? If so, which one is your favourite at the moment?

Yes, I have worn my Charlie Box crossbody bag pretty much everyday for the past year. I absolutely love it; it’s so light and effortless. However, I have recently moved to the new SS16 Bella Mini crossbody in taupe. It’s a great size and the neutral colour is perfect for the summer.

What would we find inside your handbag?

You would find my Muji notebook, lip balm, cardholder, keys, purse and pen.

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SS16

You pride your brand for being designed and made in London. Could you tell me more about your creative process and what it takes to make one of your bags? 

My creative process has no start and end, instead it is a constant flow of idea generation and then relaying these idea’s through sketches and mood boards. This is followed by pattern creation, toiling and developing the bag ready for production. During this process I also source the leather; I have soft leathers that come from Italy, and the stiff signature leather which I have dyed up in Northampton. I then prepare all patterns, leathers and hardware to be taken to the factory in London. To have the factory local is great and allows me to ensure that production is at a high standard, it enables me to play a key role within the new collection’s journey.

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Making SS16

Since you started your label in 2012, how do you feel the aesthetic of your accessories has evolved?

I feel that the same minimal aesthetic has maintained and continued from season to season, but it’s probably the design that has evolved and also been refined. The main shift would be from working with hard leather to soft leathers.

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Who is the Danielle Foster woman that you are designing for?

The Danielle Foster woman carries herself with confidence. She is down to earth and lives a contemporary self-driven lifestyle.  She is someone that is work minded and she doesn’t follow trends. A person who naturally always looks effortless.

You’re a model at Elite Management. Does modelling play into your handbag label at all? 

Being a model has enabled me to be the face of my brand, taking personal styled photo’s with my bags for Instagram. It also gave me an insight of how shoots and look books are put together and this definitely helped me when arranging my own shoots.

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SS16

You have just released the AW16 look book. I understand Jordan’s deserts inspired this collection. Did you travel there or why have you sourced this as inspiration? 

Yes I travelled there; I went to visit Petra, which was absolutely beautiful. I went on a day trek to the Jordan boarder. I was immersed in the desert instinctively inspired by the landscape both from afar and up close. The richness of the sand and the sunset going down on the desert was a vision I will never forget. That’s why I wanted to take my experience and reflect that in the collection through leather textures and colour.

What is next for your brand? 

I am focusing on refining existing styles and adding small but interesting updates. I am also growing the brand internationally into the US market so it’s a really exciting time for the brand.

Interview: Janine Leah Bartels

Images courtesy of Danielle Foster

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AW16