Anya Hindmarch

I started the brand when I was 18 after persuading a small factory in Florence to produce the very first bags that I designed.

Where does your passion for designing bags come from?

I have always been passionate about working with leather, it is an incredible natural material. As a brand, we have been focused on working with repurposed materials for a long time, particularly plastic with the ‘I Am A Plastic Bag’ project and now the Universal Bag. This got me thinking about designing something that would never need to end up in landfill rather than working with materials to save them from landfill. This was the origin of the Return To Nature collection.

Recently you introduced your Return to Nature bag collection. A luxurious bag collection that has been created with the intention of being biodegradable. What does that mean in practice?

I was challenged by the idea of a zero-waste future and inspired by the circularity of nature – the collection is designed to biodegrade, compost and return to the earth, nourishing the soil at the end of its useful life. This is a collection that has been in the making for at least two years and is the result of a huge amount of research and innovation. It is a very important project for me and one that we want to use as an educational platform to share widely. It is something we want to keep exploring and to build into the wider part of our collections and to share with other people in the business.

What made you decide to work with leather for the innovation of this collection?

The tanning and finishing method was developed with Hoffmans and Nera Tanning resulting in a product that is chrome, heavy metal and aldehyde free. The skins are sourced from Scan-Hide Swedish farms with the highest standards of animal welfare. There are no PU coatings and is finished with an Activated Silk technology, developed by Evolved By Nature, which allows the leather to biodegrade by 89.2% in 28 days with complete disintegration in 45 days under composting conditions.

What do you wish people knew about leather?

The collection is beautiful – super soft leather than really smells of leather! The bags have our signature organisational elements and treated well, will last for generations.