the story behind the fall collection

by Valerie

in fabric,new stuff,sewing,tired

The 2010 fall collection is finally here! It’s something completely new for me and for Holland Cox, and I had a lot of fun (and lost a lot of sleep) putting it together.

My goal was to see if I could ease up on my dependency on bold, wild patterns, and instead express my love for deep, saturated color through texture (above: the ankara wristlet).

It was a challenge to come up with eighteen (six each of my three flagship designs) unique expressions of texture, but I’m pretty happy with how they all turned out.

I found myself particularly attracted to ruffles, specifically tuxedo-style (above: the salamanca wristlet). I also used embroidery, quilting, applique, patchwork, and vintage notions like zippers and buttons as surface decoration.

Especially exciting was using materials from fellow makers, like hand-dyed silk ribbon from Crystal J. Silk of Richmond, VA, and wool felt from Giant Dwarf of Philadelphia, PA.

I wanted to make all eighteen completely unique and one-of-a-kind. I didn’t totally abandon the patterns, either…some of my favorites from past collections showed up here and there (below: the singapore classic handbag, featuring a pair of blue lagoon prints from 2008).

Working on something completely new like this is the absolute best thing about my job…there’s nobody around to tell me not to take risks, to question why I want to do something different, or to tell me that breaking from the norm will be “too hard.”

While being a solopreneur gives me unlimited freedom, it also means I have to do everything myself (for now anyway!), and friends, I will not lie, this collection was an unheard of amount of work (below: the helsinki envelope clutch).

I learned a lot about myself putting this collection together, not the least of which is that I am officially too old for the all-nighter. Seriously. Also, back-to-back-to-back 18 hour days are probably not the best idea, either.

But there was no other way to get it all done, so I have no regrets! Also, I know myself, and I’m pretty sure that as time passes, the pain associated with the process will diminish, and I’ll only remember the warm fuzzy feelings I get when I make something that I love.

Unfortunately I mean pain in the most literal sense…one memorable evening I had to go to bed early, because my entire left arm was tight and itchy, hurting from about 4-5 hours of nonstop embroidery, sewing on buttons, and tacking down ruffles by hand (below: the bombay classic handbag). Ouch.

Some of you familiar with my older collections have probably noticed something else new about this one…the names of the handbags.

From the very beginning I resisted the urge to name my handbags after women, which a lot of indie handbag designers do. Instead, I chose somewhat random words and phrases, like “temptation” or “seize the night.”

This time, I chose to name each handbag after an international city. This fall is perhaps the first time I consciously tried to create a unified collection (in concept anyway, if not in colorways), and I wanted the names to reflect that. Also, the names of faraway cities have always sounded exotic and seductive to me, two words that I associate with the best kinds of fashion accessories (below: the casablanca envelope clutch).

Well friends, that’s the story of my labor or love! I hope their new owners love having them as much I loved making them. Two of the classic handbags are already sold out (remember the whole collection is one-of-a-kind, so now is not the time to hem and haw if you fall in love with one of them).

Since this is something completely new for me, I’d love to hear what you think! What techniques, materials or vintage notions should I use next time?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica October 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

LOVING the new collection.

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Valerie October 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm

yay! I'm so happy to hear that 🙂

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Nicole October 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm

beautiful! I love all the textures.

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Katie October 3, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Amazing! Love the button clutch.

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Valerie October 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Thanks Katie! The pretty sheen on mother of pearl buttons has always attracted me. They're somehow cute and really elegant at the same time. 🙂

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