With an increasing demand for more special, one-of-a-kind luxury items (because it's not really luxury if someone else can have it too, right?), several fashion and accessories brands have started offering goods with customizable colors, materials, even shapes. But few of them seem to have the same touch, and feeling of authenticity, as Anya Hindmarch.
The British accessory designer has offered some bespoke leather goods since her business began, but it really got going when she opened her first store in London. She enjoyed helping people create gifts so much that she opened another store just for bespoke. "I decided to open that store almost with no business plan," she told us over the phone. "It was just what I wanted to do."
Despite her lack of a business plan, bespoke has come to drive the designer's business -- most of her stores around the world either have a bespoke floor or prominent bespoke section, which employ a trained craftsman right there on the floor, who embosses everything from wallets to notebooks to leather jewelry cases to... pretty much whatever you want. "I think that the customer just becomes so disconnected from the way things are made," says Hindmarch, adding that she wants these products to be more about the people they're made for rather than having her own name plastered all over them.
One of the many things that makes Hindmarch's bespoke service special is that in addition to embossing initials or other letters onto her already beautiful leather goods (wallets, handbags, toiletry bags, pouches), you can actually have a message written in your own handwriting embossed into anything for that added personal touch. The sales staff at Hindmarch's Madison Ave bespoke floor are full of truly funny and touching stories of gifts customers had made, as was Hindmarch. Poppy Delevingne was proposed to with an embossed box by the designer, while a famous journalist insisted that Hindmarch make him a wallet made from a crocodile's asshole. "You get quite involved with people and people become involved in what we’re making for them," she says.
But will she be able to translate that personal feeling into a big department store? Shoppers can now find out: Hindmarch has just opened a shop-in-shop on the seventh floor of Bergdorf Goodman, bespoke service included. Hindmarch says she's made the space her own -- "it's all about the product and the environment and the way and how you design it and who works there" -- and brought over one of the craftsmen from the Madison Ave store to help bring that one-on-one, old world feeling.
While the bespoke items don't come cheap -- think $200 and up -- they do make excellent gifts. If you're looking for something for someone you really, really like, we recommend checking it out.