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Sophie Hulme

The womenswear designer tells Graeme Moran about her autumn 13 collection and the success of her armoured tote bag.

You launched your brand two months after graduating from university in 2007 - what were the biggest challenges?

There’s such a lot to learn so quickly and there are lots of mistakes to be made so I think it’s best to stay adaptable and ensure you do the best for your brand. You can have lots of people trying to push different projects on you that might not be right. You have to remember to stick within budget, especially when it comes to shows and presentations.

What can the industry do to better support new designers?

I think it could focus more on brands that present a viable business opportunity. Often these brands aren’t applauded as much as they should be.

Your armoured tote bag is quickly becoming your trademark - why do you think it’s been so successful?

I think people like the simplicity of it and the fact it’s not overly branded. There were a lot of complicated handbags in the market before and I think people have responded to it being quite hard and not too feminine.

You design womenswear as well as accessories - how would you sum up your brand?

It’s based on reinventing classics and key wardrobe pieces. As the collection is not trend led, the idea is for the customer to build a wardrobe over time. The aesthetic is fairly minimal and has a lot of roots in menswear, with each piece designed to be special and have something to set it apart.

What can you tell us about your autumn 13 collection?

I’m really excited about it. It’s much bigger with an expansion of the knitwear. It’s mainly based on 1980s Soviet military, college patterns and boy scouts.

How did your collaboration with Globe-Trotter luggage come about?

I met the creative director and we decided it was a really good fit. It’s an amazing company to work with because of its heritage and beautiful products.

If you could collaborate with any brand, which would it be?

Barbour would be great - or Smythson as I love stationery.

What has been your career highlight?

I think my favourite thing is to see people on the street wearing my product; it shows that you are doing something real that can be worn every day, especially in international cities, which is really exciting.

Would you ever work on menswear?

I’d love to and I’ve been approached with various opportunities but I need to wait until I have enough time to do it justice.

What one item do you wish you had designed?

Katie Hillier’s paperclip necklaces - they’re right up my street.

What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe?

An old lace dress I found in a flea market - it’s beautiful and the fit is amazing.

What one trend do you wish would disappear?

Wet-look leggings.

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