Madia & Matilda interviewed Cathleen Nicol on her luxury
sustainable bags. Find out more below.
Can you tell me a little more about the brand?
C.Nicol is a contemporary, luxury British accessories brand led by Scotland-born founder and designer, Cathleen Nicol.
C.Nicol bags offer clean clean, functional shapes and use colour and textured materials to bring something unique to the finished look of each bag. Most of the components used are sourced from the UK and every bag is cut and sewn in London.
2015 is C.Nicol’s first year in business and we now have stockists in the UK and Middle East. In 2016 we will have a presence in the Far East too.
How do you make your bags?
It starts with a sketch, then a paper prototype and then we fine-tune the pattern pieces. A leather sample is produced and when we are happy with it, we go into full production at the factory in London.
What are the bags made from? Components? Why did you choose this material?
The first collection of bags was made from British leather and Scottish salmon skin. I often wondered what happened to all the skins from the salmon used for the food industry in Scotland and after some time, I found a supplier that sourced their skins for dyeing from Scottish and Irish organic salmon farms.
The second collection was made from British leather and some French goatskin and I source most of my metal fittings from a shop in London. The goatskin has a beautiful iridescent finish and texture. The British leather has a lovely grain and is firm but pliable which is what I was really looking for.
The leather tanneries where we source our skins all have pretty robust environmental practices and policies. A large amount of water is used in the tanning process and so using companies that we environmentally conscious in their day to day practice in terms of economical water usage and limitation to damage on the environment was important.
The lining for each collection is designed by a different British artist or illustrator and is printed in London on a silky monroe satin fabric.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration in everything. Inspiration for the theme of my collections comes mostly from different aspects of nature. In terms of design and functionality of my bags, inspiration comes from watching how women hold and carry their bags – I love people watching!
Where do you make the product and what does sustainability or making a quality British product mean to you?
Every C.Nicol bags are made in a small factory in Hackney, London. For me, producing in the UK means quality, reliability and support for the economy of my home country. It also enables a level of communication throughout the production period that I may not be able to achieve if I partnered with a factory overseas.
Where you would you wear your bags to?
I wear my bags shopping at the weekend, to work meetings and also to go out with my girlfriends at night. I feel the collection has a variety of styles and colours that suit most occasions.
Favourite place to relax?
At home with my children at the weekend.
In the future what styles do you plan to make next?
We have a large tote bag and another style of clutch bag in the plans for summer 2016.
Sincerely Madia & Matilda
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