What do you do and why is it your passion?
I am the founder and designer of Métier London. Everything about my work reflects my passion. The people I design for. The people I work with. I think it's impossible to build a new global luxury brand for men and women from scratch without being incredibly passionate and excited about every detail. As the head of the company, I am involved in every aspect and I honestly love it all. For me it’s all about connecting the dots.
What is the process for creating your work?
I first start by identifying a journey that one of my pieces in the current collection doesn’t satisfy. Usually this happens when I am doing something and wish I had a piece specifically for it… (In fact, I just developed a wine carrier after going to a dinner party and not having anything nice to carry it in.) I then think about all the requirements around the journey- what you most likely will carry, how you need to access your items (eg. A travel bag always has an exterior pocket which is easy to access for your passport and phone). I also think about what elements need to be modular and versatile. From there, I concept different shapes and details. I play with different lines and curvatures which feel harmonious and allow the functionality to be seamless, effortless and intuitive. Once I have conceived the design, I create life-size scale ones drawings. I then put them together to create a 3D version of the bag out of paper so I can ensure every detail has been considered and achieves what I want it to. In this way, I can also check proportions and spot any additional considerations ahead of making the paper pattern. Once I am happy with it, the work goes to Italy where we make a paper pattern and then develop our first prototype. We work on the thickness of each leather panel and the amount of reinforcement in each layer so that we balance lightweight and lasting- I love when each piece has the perfect, effortless slouch. We then go through several prototyping rounds, fine tuning as we go. I then wear test each piece for at least one month to ensure that it is perfect and also to test any weaknesses. After that, we send the piece to a special testing facility which simulates 20 years of use with wind, rain, humidity and weight. Once the design passes that test it is approved and final samples are made. Without a doubt, my favorite part of my work is sketching - I love letting my mind wander and I love designing the specs for each piece. This is followed closely by my other favorite moment- unwrapping the first prototype. I am actually receiving two new ones tomorrow… I can’t wait.
How often are you traveling? What routine or tricks have you created for being on the road so often?
Almost every week at the moment! This week I was in Paris, tomorrow I go to NYC. Then Qatar and then Hong Kong. All this month! I have gotten very good at packing. My best trick is my carry-on. I load it with all different sized pouches. One for my electronics. One for my toiletries. My Runaway for my essentials. My travel pillow, extra socks, a cashmere wrap that can be a scarf or a blanket… and I must admit I can get through the security line in about 30 seconds flat. I have a special pocket for the laptop and side pockets for toiletries and a special place for the passport which is easy to access. I like to move as quickly through the airport as possible and feel as together as possible so I can somehow remain relaxed and calm. My other trick is that I always do yoga the morning before a flight and then the evening or morning after I arrive. I swear it helps with jet lag and allows me to hit the ground running – which is necessary since I am often operating on two time zones.
What is your favorite thing about traveling?
Being exposed to different cultures. I love observing different ways to approach the world and different ways to communicate. I am inspired by the different ways to design buildings or roads or signs even… its something we take for granted, but each culture has really developed their own way which I think is fascinating. I love that when you land in NYC, the energy feels entirely different than when I am in London. It seems like an obvious concept but I am constantly inspired by being exposed to different cultures. I have a long list of places I wish to travel… I try to avoid going to the same places too often as there is so much of the world to explore!
What does luxury mean to you?
Timeless. Authentic. Perfected. Designed for the client.
What are the things we will always find inside your bag (the non-obvious please!)
Yoga clothes – it keeps me sane. My sketchbook. And my laptop. Not super exciting, but you can see what life is like as an entrepreneur :) Probably the only thing missing from my routine is if I could if I could feasibly carry around a bottle of wine with me, I would… And hence why I will soon have a Métier wine carrier in the collection….