evolution, part 1

It’s been a long time, friends!

Holland Cox 10th anniversary labels

These babies arrived in the mail the other day…my 10th anniversary labels! Officially Holland Cox was born December 2004, but trust me it was the softest of “soft launches,” so who can say what my actual first day was?

But no matter how you slice it, I’ve been in business for ten years. My label is ten years old! In that time, I’ve introduced fourteen collections of my three flagship designs, plus six other handbag styles, and nearly two dozen accessories.

In the past year or so, I’ve retired all but one handbag style (the hobo bag), and all but six accessories.

so much inspiration, so little action
After my sanctuary collection from spring 2012, I immediately started planning for that fall.

This gorgeous red and orange Haider Ackermann was the first image (of many) on my inspiration board for that unnamed collection.

It never happened.

All those pretty pictures I posted on Pinterest inspired me, but not to make the handbags I’d been making since 2004.

Everything I make starts out as a sketch, but somehow the fall 2012 collection never left my sketchbook!

I knew then (although I didn’t admit it to myself until much later) that I didn’t want to make my flagship designs anymore.

I needed to make a change, to move on, to evolve.

the Holland Cox satchel handbag pattern in progress

the next step
This is the third draft of my satchel style handbag pattern (more on that in a moment!). It started life as a sketch dated November 3, 2012.

Why has it taken me so long to make it real? Why haven’t I launched a new collection since March of 2012? Maybe I’ve been focused on teaching sewing rather than doing any. Perhaps I feared the unknown. Maybe I knew I needed a change, but just wasn’t sure exactly what that change should look like.

Honestly: I don’t know. But since I’m my own boss, there was nobody breathing down my neck to come up with an answer that might not exist. Does it matter, really? I just wasn’t ready.

But what I do know is that I’m ready now. It seems appropriate that my readiness coincides with my tenth anniversary, and that introducing a completely new design may serve as the end of one era and the beginning of another!

Soon, I will be pleased to present to you my first collection in two years: evolution.

red fabric

I’ve been hoarding red fabric for my next collection since before I finished sanctuary. Although none of my visions have solidified until now, the colors have stayed the same: rich, dark red has been in the back of my mind and all over my sketchbook for two years!

The pile above is just a sampling. I’ve acquired thick wool felt and wool tweed in several shades ranging from oxblood to tomato. I don’t even remember where I found the bright, imperial red crepe. My stash also revealed several shades of red silk dupioni, a lovely lipstick-red ultrasuede, and of course a few all-purpose denims and twills.

orange prints for my "evolution" collection

some things stay the same
Unlike my previous collections, evolution is going to feature only one handbag style, the satchel. However, I doubt I will ever abandon my beloved bright and bold prints, and this collection will be no different in that regard!

I’ve been obsessed with red, but somehow in my wanderings to gather materials for this collection, many of the prints I fell in love with ended up being mostly orange. I have no idea how that happened.

My original notes included ideas for adding in some pink and brown, but two years later that just sounds crazy to me. Evolution will feature an extremely tight color palette, but there will probably be a little guest-starring from purple and black (as I’m sure you’re shocked to hear).

"gunmetal" handbag hardware

some things change
For the first time, I’ve been experimenting with using hardware in my handbags. For a long, long, long time I was adamantly opposed: I loathe handbags with tons of silvery junk hanging off them…worse than being a bit tacky, it’s so common. Gold-tone hardware didn’t appeal to me, nor did steampunk-y antique brass or copper seem like a good fit for my designs.

But then I found this lovely dark gray (I think they call it “gunmetal”) hardware, and it got me thinking. I find it very sleek, and a bit dramatic.

I decided to try twisting the narrow chain with three other textured trims, and was very pleased with the results (so far). The final chain straps on the satchels will probably look something like this:

experimental chain strap for my satchel style handbag

I hope I have peaked your interest! The evolution collection will be out the end of October. It will be somewhat of a micro-collection: only six handbags. Working on the completely new satchel style has been thrilling in a way that I’ve been missing for a while now, so I can’t wait to show them to you!

As always, newsletter subscribers will see them first, as well as get a sweet introductory price. Get on the list so you don’t get left out!



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