It’s been a while since we’ve done an interview with a designer and I have a special one to share with you. Fleming London is a luxurious leather backpack brand created by Sophie Fleming in 2013. Sophie hails from my my neck of the woods, Tunbridge Wells and her designs hail from the desire to create luxurious backpacks that are both stylish and practical.
I think she’s hit the nail on the head and her Fleming London utilitarian backpack has both functional style and an air of sophistication, using the finest Italian tanned leathers in brilliant bold colours. All the backpacks are handmade in England and Sophie’s aim is to unite British design, quality and style.
We emailed Sophie a few of our favourite interview questions to find out more about the brand and her design concept.
Q. What encouraged you to get into this industry and what was your route into it?
A. Although I studied History at university, my heart was always set on a career in fashion. My very first experience was working on the shop floor at Russell and Bromley as a student, which I absolutely loved. After graduating I earned a temporary role at ASOS and it was incredible to work within such a huge, fast paced company. I then moved on to a permanent position at Jaeger in the Merchandising department. This was truly valuable as I gained experience and knowledge on the processes that bring a product to market and what it takes to establish and maintain a luxury brand. It was during my time at Jaeger that I first had the idea for Fleming London, filling up sketchbook after sketchbook with notes and drawings on how I could build my own brand.
Q. What is a typical working day for you?
A. The first thing I do each morning is reply to my emails. They build up scarily quickly if I don’t keep on top of them! I then check sales and see where our backpacks are being sent to this week, it’s always interesting to see where in the country (or abroad!) they are ending up. Quite often I will have a photoshoot to prepare for, so that takes up quite a bit of time brainstorming and sourcing relevant props (like the classic cars and motorbike in our recent campaign shoot). There seems to be something new each week that requires the bulk of my day, at the moment I’m working with boutiques who are looking to stock Fleming London. No two days are ever the same though, meetings can often be arranged at a short notice and I’ll suddenly be off on a train into central London!
Q. What do you love the most about designing your own collections?
A. What I love most is seeing people wearing my bags – it never loses its excitement! With social media now, it’s amazing to get images of people all over the world wearing their Fleming London backpacks.
A. We are currently based in Tunbridge Wells, although I make frequent trips up to London for meetings. It’s my hometown and also a convenient location for commuting, so very practical! Fleming London is definitely inspired by London and all things British, we are very proud that each of our products is handmade here in England and we hope to unite British style, design and manufacture in each of our creations.
Q. How would you sum up what you do in one sentence?
A. We create luxurious leather backpacks that are uniquely stylish and devilishly practical!
Q. Where would you like your work to take you?
A. It would be amazing to see our backpacks stocked outside the UK – I’d love to see them all over Scandinavia first and then maybe Asia!
Q. What’s the most rewarding part of your work? What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
A. My biggest achievement so far is creating a brand that I am proud of! It’s incredibly rewarding to think that I have done this myself with the support of friends and family and that we have been able to reach such a large audience for a very young brand.
Q. What is next for you? What are your goals for 2014/15?
A. Our goal for the future is to gradually expand our range. We hope to launch other bag designs as well as some additional small leathers. I have lots of ideas and potential designs so the possibilities are endless!
Bonus Question – if you didn’t do the job you do now – what would be your dream job and where?
A. If I didn’t have my current role at Fleming London, my dream job would probably be working at a glossy magazine or fashion house in New York. Very ‘Sex and The City’ I know!
View the Fleming London collection on their website and get your hands on some great British design.
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