Behind The Scene With Designer Anya Willique of Willique Handbags

By Marilyn R. Wilson

What drew you to become a fashion designer?

I found that after producing a small range of handbags as gifts and encouraged by the positive reaction from friends and family, I decided to take it to the next level by turning my dream into a reality.

With my background in business, I think it naturally came to me to marry my love of designing, ethical production with creating my brand – Willique!

Why was it important to you to offer a sustainable, responsible, Eco fashion line and how do you incorporate ideals such a Zero Waste into your work? 

Recognizing that it can be difficult to find luxury leather goods that are both bespoke and cruelty free, The Conscious Collection are gender neutral, sustainable alternative leathr additions to Willique which as a brand champions slow fashion principles.

Where do you find inspiration for new work?

I absolutely never fail to find inspiration from my surrounding environments and also my heritage. Willique’s bags draw architectural influences from both London’s vibrant skyline and the amazing vibrancy of my homeland of Bahamas.

What materials do you work with – organic, reclaimed, etc.?

I work with ethically sourced, premium quality leather for my slow fashion brand however for my Conscious Collection, I choose only to create this collection using Pinotex or ‘pineapple leather’.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a sustainable designer? 

To try and convey to potential stockists that slow fashion principles – working with smaller quantities and longer turnaround times – can work in everyone’s favour!

How do you help customers understand the higher cost of sustainable garments when they are so inundated with sweat shop-produced cheap merchandise?

We like to educate through our website, social media and regular outreach to press. The “Slow Fashion” movement is here to stay!

What can we look forward to seeing on the runway at Eco Fashion Week Australia?

Exciting and dynamic designs for AW17, and also one or two special additions especially for Eco Fashion Week Australia!

How do you incorporate sustainable living in other areas of your life?

I like to work with ethical and fair principles (wages, work culture etc) at the forefront of my business – it is very important that in Willique; the partners, suppliers and employees all hold these values as well.

I also believe strongly against food waste (I try to grow my own window box herbs!), up-cycle clothes and try where and when possible to always recycle. We only have one Earth so lets protect what we have left!

Anything else you would like readers to know?

This year has been exceptionally exciting for Willique and myself. The brand is going from strength to strength, and we look forward to wrapping up not only with of course Eco Fashion Week Australia but also with the 2017 Bahamas International Film Festival in December, where we are one of the official sponsors.