Anya Sushko set up her business in 2007 and has really perfected the art of making leather purses and bags that have incredible appeal. This post will give you insight into her products and processes as well as her ethics.
What do you make and why?
I hand make luxury bags and accessories. I have always been very interested in the fashion business and from an early age was passionate about art and design.
After I had graduated from St Martin’s and then the London College of Fashion, I spent some time working with Alexander McQueen, which was a fantastic learning experience.
I wanted to create a brand of my own and build a business, so that’s why I took the step of starting Anya Sushko Limited.
As with any business, it’s involved a lot of hard work and it’s not always been an easy road but I have enjoyed the journey so far!
We know your products are great, you know your products are great but how can they know?
All my products are handcrafted in London.
I am originally from Latvia but London is my home now and I am passionate about keeping London’s manufacturing reputation alive.
I also strongly believe that striking, but elegant, designs are what makes one bag stand out from another.
I think consumers are getting bored with seeing the same mass-produced bags over and over again.
Whereabouts does your manufacturing take place?
What is the toughest part of the product development process for you?
I love the design development process and observing how an initial idea evolves into a complete prototype but the whole process requires a lot of patience. The manufacturing phase presents challenges, too: the machinery required for those aspects of leather-making that cannot be done by hand (eg splitting leather into thinner pieces) is very elaborate.
What is the most enjoyable part of the process of product development for you?
I love designing and sketching ideas, letting my imagination lead the way. And the actual hand-making of the bags is very enjoyable because it is highly technical and requires great attention to detail.
Do you have any new products/ranges planned for the next year or so?
I would like to concentrate on adding a men’s accessories range to my collection.
I have a lot of ideas and there are so many wonderful accessories that can be made: wallets, card holders, note pads and belts to name just a few!
What products or people have helped to inspire you to create the products that you do?
One of my huge inspirations was my design development tutor at the London College of Fashion, Anthony Vrahimis, who sparked in me a love for luxury goods and handcrafting them.
I draw inspiration from the surrounding world – the dynamic of life in London, nature, the human body as well as architecture which has had a profound impact on my early work – the Chic and Shape collection is a tribute to the Art Deco period, one of my favourite ones.
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know
I love taking photos! It’s another way for me to express my creativity. Check out my Instagram account!
What do you wish we had asked you?
As well as my current range of bags and accessories, I make all sorts of other bespoke products, from wallets and card-holders to note-pad covers. So if you have a particular item you want made, drop me a line ([email protected]).
Which product in your range do you personally use the most and why?
Day to day, I always end up using my samples and least elaborate bags. I carry a lot of stuff in my bag like leather scraps, tools etc, as well as the usual things like my purse, so my day to day bag is the Chic City Tote. If I have a special event to go to, I use Modern Extravaganza and Severina bags in python.
Why did you name your products as you have?
Like the rest of the design process, this is often the result of creativity, spontaneity and circumstances. I have named bags after clients – when they have left such an impression that the bag just had to carry their name!
I am deeply inspired by the Art Deco style, which is a recurring element in my work, and to celebrate this some of my signature pieces are named after that era – the DecoDame, Modern Extravaganza. Sometimes, we deliberately research names, and other times, they just come as a result of something that has happened during the creation process.