The “Return to Nature” range is available to pre-order as of Monday, with wider rollout slated for Oct. 22 at The Village, Anya Hindmarch’s five-store retail concept in London, and MatchesFashion.
The process to develop a fully biodegradable leather bag took over two years of research, development and disintegration tests, said Anya Hindmarch, the brand’s eponymous founder and chief executive. It began with reframing how she had interacted with sustainability in previous projects, such as her “I am a plastic bag” totes made from recycled plastic bottles and windshields. She was, in part, also inspired by the work of model and sustainable fashion advocate Arizona Muse, whose regenerative soil and biodynamic farming charity Dirt will receive £10 (about $14) for every product sold from the collection.
“[I thought,] where are we going wrong with all the projects that we’ve done on plastic and trying to stop things going to landfill and keep them in circulation?” Hindmarch told BoF. “Why are we making things that don’t naturally break down?”
The project relied on collaboration with a fully traceable chain of suppliers, including Swedish cattle farms, a tannery in Germany and leather goods makers in Andalusia, Spain. The leather is treated without the heavy metals, chrome and aldehyde widely used in leather goods, and finished with liquid silk, of which Hindmarch says her brand is an earlier adopter. The bag is hardware-free, unlined, and stitched together with cotton that also biodegrades, she said. It is also hand-coated with a wax made from natural oils, which owners will need to re-apply to maintain durability.
“We want this [bag] to last forever and it should last forever if you look after it,” she said “The point is that if this ever did end up in landfill, it would break down... [but] if you did actively want to compost it, I’d rather you sold on eBay, or gave it someone else.”
The unusual retail concept will bring the brand’s playful wit to life through a mix of spaces dedicated to product, pop-up activities and a café.