A proudly British label merges form and function with unexpected fabrics for truly unique handbags
Feeling constrained as a freelance interiors stylist, Londoner Tamara Fogle abandoned editorial features in favor of following her own creative pursuit. What began simply as a desire to make "things" she liked, Fogle explains "now my job is a real reflection of me, and I love that fact." Steadily gaining notoriety since its inception in 2007, her eponymous handbag label is now stocked by a wealth of specialty boutiques across the U.K., as well as at London's edgy Hoxton Gallery and The British Museum shop.
Fogle's passion for her work is evident in every bag, which are each entirely designed and made in the U.K.—a decision she says is "exceedingly important." While this drastically reduces her carbon footprint, Fogle explains her real interest is in bolstering a "diminishing industry" that truly excels in craftsmanship. "By championing British production, I hope to evoke the heritage and create the quality that U.K. manufacturing was once renowned for. My focus is to create a quality product that will last forever, and won't be thrown away in favor of next season's fad. Instead, it will get better and better with age and wear."
In addition to ensuring sustainability, Fogle's label also stands out for its fabrics, with the designer roaming the globe for unique materials and finishes that span French mattress ticking to Indian quilts. "Sourcing fabrics is the most fun," she says. "For longstanding ranges like my Antique German Flour Sack range, I work with a few specialist textile dealers. Looking for new fabrics means I am constantly scouring antique fairs and talking to the most interesting and eccentric people."
Her latest find is a stockpile of vintage Belgian army tent bags that are "enormous and falling apart at the seams," but by playing with the proportions, Fogle says "the fabric can be made up into fantastic bags that combine textures like soft leather hides, hard bridle leathers and other 'scruffy textiles' for a distinct aesthetic."
Tamara Fogle bags sell in a variety of styles and patterns, and are stocked in the U.K. at Elys of Wimbledon, Flint in Sussex and 18 The Mall in Bristol, as well as Iena in Japan, online at ModCloth in the States and Le Grenier in Australia. Prices typically span £125-330.