In the middle of a pandemic while we were all working remotely, Anthropologie contacted us. After successfully selling our changing bags, they were interested in working on an exclusive collaboration. How could we say no? Anthropologie is the absolute dream shopping destination for so many woman, we were full of excitement. So much so that we gave little thought to how difficult the collab could be working across 3 continents and timezones. A year later and after what could have been a million emails, we launched the St James Leather Tan, and all the work paid off as it became an instant success. We talk to Storksak’s Design Director, Mel Marshall, about how we navigated a global collaboration while the world was shut down.
Why did you choose to collaborate with Anthropologie?
We’ve been so excited to launch our collaboration with Anthropologie; a brand I’ve loved from the moment I stepped into one of their first stores in NYC. For me, Anthropologie are the innovators of a whole new shopping environment, that mix homeware and clothing so well. A brand that speaks to women who love fashion, but aren’t governed by it. This is exactly our ethos at Storksak, which is why it’s worked so well.
Every Storksak bag is designed to function perfectly as a changing bag, it should be the bag you would choose as your everyday bag. We don’t believe you have to sacrifice your style when you become a parent. Naturally with bags, we’re limited to how much print and colour we can use, so when Anthropologie first discussed the collaboration, it seemed like a perfect match, as they wanted to use one of their beautiful prints as our lining.
With one team in London, one in New York plus a global lockdown, how did your teams work together?
Many, many months later, after numerous rounds of samples, sending leather colour swatches back and forth to the US from London, we had the beginnings of a beautiful new bag. Collaborating during the pandemic has required a deeper level of co-operation and creative understanding, which has been part of the enjoyment really. When two brands are able to complement each other, it enhances the end product, and makes it even more special.
They selected our best-selling St James Leather. With its minimalist style, and simple lines it would allow their printed lining to compliment and not overpower our product. It’s always a balance, especially with bags which you use every day, as you want them to work with so many outfits, so adding colour inside is a great option. Using the creative flair that Anthropologie is so well known for, we think their signature print against the plain bold leather works so well.
We worked closely with the designers and buyers to understand how they imagined the bag would look. We needed to understand what kind of handwriting they wanted on the bag. The last collaboration we did was with Bugaboo, and this took over a year of meetings, and sample reviews, so you are never sure how much time it will take and equally if the end result will work.
How was the end product decided upon?
Anthropologie wanted a new tan leather, with their own signature lining, so we began the process of working with the tanneries and print makers to make up swatches for their team to look at. They shared photos of leather sofas, wooden furniture as well as other leather accessories, which gave us a good idea of colour and tone. With special dyed colours, you have to work with minimum dye batches, not only for economic reasons, but also for consistently and quality.
The lining of Storksak bags is so important, as it gets a lot of wear, so it has to be strong yet be of the highest quality. Using digital printers, we were able to test various different artworks by adjusting the files, which makes this a far more sustainable method. You only need to print what you need, so there’s far less wastage. After about three rounds of print trials, we were able to finalise the print. We worked with our factory to develop a new quality of lining, which we call fleece velvet. It has a luxurious silk like quality, but is as strong as our regular lining.
Using accents of pale gold hardware, and featuring our embossed Storksak branding, we love how the bag looks inside and out. It has the DNA of Storksak, with an interior that reflects Anthropologie’s creativity. The interchangeable silhouette means you can convert from backpack to shoulder bag seamlessly; a bag for the independently minded woman who’s inspired by fashion, but not led by it.
Check out our St James Leather Tan in collaboration with Anthropologie here.