When it comes to the world of designer fashion accessories, the name 'Anya Hindmarch' cannot be ignored. A self-made entrepreneur, Anya attended New Hall School from the early to the late 1980’s, and upon her departure quickly set about pursuing her career as a fashion designer.
Upon leaving New Hall aged 18, Anya travelled to Florence to learn Italian and discover more about the handbag industry. It was here she demonstrated her entrepreneurial spirit; upon discovering drawstring leather duffel bags in the local markets, she realised she could sell them back in England. Following an introduction to Harpers and Queen, she persuaded them to feature the bag as a reader’s offer, found a factory to fulfil the orders and used her £7000 profit to kick start her fledgling handbag company, opening her own shop in Hackney aged only 19.
From there on Anya has gone from strength to strength with over 50 stores nationwide, with flagship stores in London, Tokyo and New York and an annual turnover in excess of £20 million. She has produced numerous collections and designs annually for four mainline collections, which are covered extensively in leading fashion magazines including Vouge
and Harpers Bazaar
, and is featured in publications such as The New York Times
and The Gentlewoman
. Her designs have also been featured heavily during London Fashion Week and has been the only accessories brand to produce a full-on show. She has also been a design consultant to British Airways for 7 years, (designing their First Class amenity kits) designed the BAFTA gift bags and the gift bags given to guests at Vanity Fair’s
Anya has also done a great deal of work for charity; she started the Be a Bag
service in 2001 to help support The Lavender Trust
, with 100 style icons including Kate Moss and Elton John donating personal photographs to be printed on to Be a Bags
to support the launch. The bags were auctioned to support the American Red Cross
following 9/11 and have benefited 31 charities worldwide. She also worked alongside Shift
to help design the I’m Not A Plastic Bag
tote bag (which was a global sell out), and help raise awareness and make it fashionable to not use plastic bags. Launched in 2007 for £5 in a variety of colours worldwide, they were also selected by Vanity Fair
to be included in their Oscars “
Anya has been recognised and awarded for her contributions to fashion; she was awarded the Designer of the Year in 2006 and 2007 by Glamour
magazine, was the inaugural Designer Brand of the Year in 2007 at the British Fashion Awards, and was in the winner of the Accessories Designer of the Year at the same awards in 2001. Anya won the British Fashion Award for Accesory Designer again in 2014.
She was named Veuve Cliquot businesswoman of the year in 2012, is a trustee of both the Royal Academy and the Design Museum as well as a Governor for the University of the Arts London. She was named a UK trade ambassador in 2011, is on the advisory board for the Mayor of London and in 2009 was awarded an MBE in recognition of her contribution to the British Fashion Industry, and has been nominated as one of the 25 most influential people working in the British Fashion Industry.
Despite all of the success, Anya still gives back; on the 27th June 2009 she came back to New Hall School to open the then new Design and Technology Centre where the old barn stood, inspiring a new generation of New Hall students in the process.