Stylish bag brand stocked by Liberty opens first shop in Islington
- Credit: Archant
Six years ago textiles and fashion graduate Katy Bell was strolling through Borough Market when she saw a pile of used coffee sacks.
Six months later she was making more than 200 upcycled bags for a special range at Liberty, Regent Street.
“Liberty held an open day in April 2009 and I had made a few bags upcycling second-hand fabric,” said Katy, now 30.
“I was walking through the market and I saw some old coffee bag sacks that weren’t being used. The pattern and the fabric was beautiful and I thought it was a real shame for them to go to waste,
“I thought: ‘someone would have done it before’ but I’ll make up a bag anyway.”
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Katy was put forward for the open day by a friend and was planning on showing her whole portfolio, but when she arrived she was told there was only time to pitch one idea to be sold at the world famous shop.
“I went in and just decided to talk about the bags. I’d done some research and seen that there was a gap in the market for sustainable products.
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“They ordered 250 right there. It was one moment of excitement and then pure terror when I found out they wanted them in the shop by July.”
Five years on and Katy’s brand, Lost Property of London (LPOL), is stocked by Liberty, Bloomingdale’s and Fortnum and Mason to name but a few – and two weeks before Christmas LPOL opened its first shop, in Cross Street, Islington.
Coffee sacks and discarded boat sails are just some of the materials used to manufacture the classic, sophisticated range with a strong focus on sustainability.
Even the leather is tanned using fruit and vegetables and only comes from animals that had already been killed for their meat.
All the bags are made locally in factories in Hackney Wick and even the coffee bags come from Square Mile Coffee Roasters in Haggerston.
“We make everything in London,” said Katy, who lives in Camden. “But we do buy the materials, even the second hand stuff, it’s not things that have been thrown away.
“Some of the boat sails we get are torn but it’s such great fabric and you can get loads of bags out of just one sail.
“I got the idea for the name when I had to go to the Baker Street lost property bank where they keep everything left on the Underground.
“I saw all the amazing stuff in there and I just thought what a waste of fabric.”
The brand has even caught the eye of celebrities, with television presenter Caroline Flack sporting one of LPOL’s rucksacks at festivals in the summer.
But it’s locals that the shop has its eye on impressing now.
“It’s been great so far having the shop because we can stock everything together.
“We have lots of different things stocked in shops but this is the only time we’ve had it all together.
“It also means you can talk customers through the product, not that we harp on about the fact that they are upcycled.
“We want people to love the bags for how they look first and then learn about where they came from.”
Katy will be taking her bags to Paris fashion week in March.
To see Katy’s products go to the Lost Property of London webiste.