Inspired by Architecture and Sculpture, the Sonya Kashmiri Collection
Nominated by Wallpaper Magazine as “an accessory designer to watch,” Sonya Kashmiri launched her eponymous accessory line in 2008. She had been working as a sneaker designer (she studied at Cordwainer’s College) using predominately synthetic materials and decided she wanted to work in a more sustainable way. She began teaching at the London College of fashion, which led to an opportunity to undertake an MA, which was the basis for her Accessory business.
When asked which came first ‘eco’ or ‘designer’, Sonya shares
Initially, I wanted to create and be a designer, but I think that the two are synonyms now, as our own values shape our ideas. For me that was what are the best type of materials to use and the most sustainable method of construction. To make something that is functional, aesthetically pleasing and lasting.
With a minimal, understated and handcrafted aesthetic, Sonya Kashmiri was one of the pioneering brands where ‘luxury’ and ‘handcrafted’ intersected with ethical. She recalls,
I knew that I wanted to create products that were well made and used quality organic, recycled and natural materials. There was a lot of Eco/Ethical products at that time, that addressed different labels such as, “Ethical” to me that meant fair trade, “Eco“ was more broad and that could mean using synthetic materials and not animal products, so it was particular to what that brands values were. I wanted to make Accessory’s that took into consideration their impact on the environment so that was my starting point, looking at the materials and the method of construction.
At present, Sonya is working with Italian Vegetable tanned leathers that use plant extracts in their process and for the interior of the more structural areas she uses recycled leather which is remade and sourced from Portugal- where the Accessory’s are made. Linings are an organic cotton/linen material sourced originally from South America.
We also asked:
Who are you designing for? Who is the Sonya Kashmiri woman?
She is an independent woman who is interested in fashion, but not necessarily drawn to Designer name brands.
If you could give advice to a young designer, what would you tell them?
Try to work in a way that reflects your own values. There is a great book called, Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, about product design and reevaluating the way we make things. If wanting to do your own business do your research into every aspect, financial, market research and who your customer is.
What’s the one piece from your collection[s] that should be in everyone’s closet?
I would recommend the Mia cross body bag, as it is perfect to go from day to night as it can also be used as a clutch. The collection is inspired by the organic architectural buildings of Le Corbusier and the work of Sculptor Barbara Hepworth.
What is in the future for the brand?
I would like to create a men’s collection and add a new material to the collection.
Check out the collection at www.sonyakashmiri.com