We spoke with Brie Leon's handbag and accessories designer, Pixie. In this interview, we cover everything from her inspirations for this season, to Brie Leon's sustainability message and her favourite pieces from this collection.
When do you feel most inspired?The best ideas come when I'm relaxed and happy; so on vacay. I feel safe and calm when I'm up North with my Mama, there is no pressure to create so it just becomes fun and explorative.
Describe the Spring Summer Collection in three words.Elemental, Warm, Energetic.
What is the process when researching sustainable materials for Brie Leon?
One of the advantages of working with accessories is that you can work with nearly any materials you like - it means I can always be hunting for new materials to work with. In terms of getting my hands on fabrications, usually I begin with our current suppliers, asking if there's anything new on the market. Otherwise, I spend a lot of time reading sustainability articles and trawling them for new material ideas or heading out to Expos to see who is coming out with innovative stuff. If there is anything that catches my eye, I will reach out to new potential material suppliers to see if it will work with designs I have in mind.
How do we practice sustainability beyond just choosing sustainable materials?What I absolutely adore about Brie Leon is the fact that no handbags go in the bin. Ever. Unfortunately, waste in this industry, especially sample and faulty stock excess is HUGE. I think it says a lot about the brand, we take responsibility for our output and take ownership over all our products. We also put a lot of effort into making sure our packaging processes are as sustainable as possible. Due to factors like: minimum order requirements, industry standards and the fact that plastic is just cheaper, it is harder to move away from plastic packaging. We’re proud to say that we’ve overcome these challenges and eliminated single-use plastic poly bags on our handbags. This may seem like a small step but it’s the smaller things that make the biggest difference.
What material process have you found interesting this season?I've loved learning all about recycled gold and precious metals. It seems wild to me that we have so much old jewellery and gold that goes to landfill after use, so recycling these metals makes so much sense. Gold can be melted down and reformed perpetually and never lose its quality, which isn't the case for most material recycling processes.
What is the importance of certifications/What certifications has Brie Leon approved so far for SS22/23?As a small business, certification is important for us to feel legitimately sustainable. Certificates are not just valuable for our consumers but are also valuable for us as a business as they ensure that we are using recycled products, whether it is gold, silver, PU or any other materials. Supply chain transparency is difficult, and even harder to achieve when working offshore, so certificates help us to keep our promises and let our customers know that we are doing the right thing.
What steps did we take to work towards our sustainability goals for this season?We have made some massive steps forward this season, we worked hard to increase the ratio of recycled materials in our production and operations, eliminated the use of plastic poly bags for our handbags and created our first recycled gold collection. I'm proud of achieving these goals, but I'm even prouder of the constant efforts from the whole team to learn and share in our sustainability journey.
What’s to come for upcoming collections/Goals for next season's collection?We have a couple of exciting new projects to share. We’ve been looking into a recycling/repair program for our customers to increase the longevity of our bags and get more value out of the products they buy from us. We’re also exploring more ways in which we can work with our local community.
How do you implement sustainability practices in your daily life?Honestly, I think talking about sustainability practices and why they're important is one of the most powerful steps you can take. I don't buy items that don't last; having worked in product development for years I have a relatively good understanding of what's going to go the distance. Even if I have to spend more money, I think it's better to make a lifetime investment than buy that same item over and over again.
I make a big effort to reduce the amount of day-to-day waste I create by using green bags, keep cups, recycled toilet paper and a high-quality water bottle. I make sure I’m aware of where my food comes from especially my seafood (avoid Tasmanian Salmon please) and opt for eco-friendly and sustainable home products like Dirt and Zero.
Favourite pieces in the Spring Summer collection?