You can blame it on the political climate being, well, bonkers, but fashion has come over all retro this season. And no item has benefitted more from our obsession with the old than the wicker bag - but let's face it, those vintage ones do nothing but fall apart (and usually when you're in the middle of town - yes, this happened to me, no, I was not impressed). So thanks to Wicker Wings, the brand bringing quality and craftsmanship back to the world of weaving. I spoke to Belinda, one-half of the brand's founding sibling pair, to get the low-down on Instagram's favourite bag brand.
Who’s your dream customer?
I think when we first started, we had our stand out celebrities and fashionistas who really caught your eye. But it became less about names and more about individuals, we’ve had so many photos of our customers send photos in and from what we can see they’re confident, individual and have their own sense of style. This is our dream customer.
What’s your favourite piece from the collection?
For me, the Buckled Shū in every colour. The size of the Shū is compact and really beautiful, holds your everyday essentials and an detachable (and adjustable) strap for whatever the day throws at you. A seriously, seriously gorgeous bag.
What inspired you to start the brand?
Myself and my younger brother James were sat round the kitchen table one late night with the family. After talking, we spoke about how our grandmother wove baskets for a living in China prior to moving to England. I knew about this before but for some reason it was James’ first time hearing this story. After this, we spoke to grandma about her basket weaving history and after hearing the stories and processes that go into it, we thought it was really amazing. For us, in our day to day wicker encounter all you see is the finish wicker basket, but what you don’t realise is the stories, processes and hands that carefully hand weave each basket. So inspired by this, we started WW to shine light on our grandma’s past, but in a contemporary way.
What have you got in the pipeline?
Our main objective is to continue to create beautifully handwoven wicker bags, we have some accessories coming out too. We want to solely focus on bags right now because there’s so much that can be done. Our customers come from all over the world, so we know we have interest globally, we would love to be able to reach our global audience through real recognised stores and boutiques.
Where does the name come from?
We were founded on story. We started WW because of story, which began with grandma. So we knew it was important to have wicker in our name to stay true to who we are. We knew how quickly the world changes and we knew how easy it is to be drawn into things and to follow trends. But having Wicker in our name embodies it into our brand, it’s who we are and what we will be. Wings comes from our social aspect of the business as for every bag purchased contributes to our Bag for Bag mission, where a bag of educational supplies are donated to children in rural China. As we evolved as a brand, Wings also represents our business philosophy of “Know the story. Understand the process.” This is important for us because prior knowledge changes everything. The Wings acts as a metaphor for this journey of basket and handbag making. We don’t come from manufacturing backgrounds but we’ve completely submerged ourselves in production and we often find ourselves making bags too. But having this philosophy aligns our thoughts and makes us appreciate, as well as question, how and why things are what they are.