Five minutes with... Rachel Robertson of Hackley Bags
We caught up with Rachel Robertson, the woman behind Hackley Bags, to find out more about the process behind designing hand-crafted accessories and her inspiration for S/S19.
When did you become interested in designing bags and what made you want to set up your own business?
For years, I have had an interest in design and sewing, but I specifically began to design bags around five years ago. These would be for myself when I couldn’t find, or often couldn’t afford, the exact item I wanted. In fact, a trip to Croatia was the impetus for the ‘Dubrovnik’ backpack design and the inspiration for the name.
I left a very unfulfilling career in law two years ago and found myself with the chance to try something completely new. I decided to use my passion for design and set up Hackley – finally working for myself and pursuing the creative career I had always wanted.
Can you tell us more about the process of making a Hackley bag?
Each design begins with a focus on its function. It is very often my own need for a specific bag, such as an easy, everyday tote or a smart backpack for travel, that drives a new design.
From there I experiment with colour and materials. It is not only the combination of bold colours that I love to incorporate in my designs, but also the combination of different materials and textures.
The fact I design and make all the pieces myself is what allows me to offer a completely bespoke service to clients. I love working with clients to create a bag that exactly meets their wishes – one that they are going to love for a lifetime. I test each of the bags myself, using them as they are intended, to make sure they are functional, comfortable and robust. Strictly speaking this is “product testing”, but having at least one of each of my designs does feed comfortably in to my bag obsession!
What is your favourite ever accessory - either past or present?
Well beside my trusty fleet of Hackley bags…..!? For me it has to be a scarf. I am almost never seen without one. I don’t have a specific favourite: I love to change these up to match the seasons or my mood and often have one as an accessory on a bag.
With the weather getting warmer, I am enjoying playing around with silk scarves as a lightweight alternative to the huge ones I wrap myself up in during the winter.
Which item do you think every woman should have in her wardrobe?
I think every woman should have one accessory that they truly love. One that works with a multitude of outfits and makes her feel fantastic, whilst still being useful. This is the ethos behind each of my bag designs, making a Hackley a perfect wardrobe staple. They’re hard-working, striking and crafted to be a lasting addition to any wardrobe.
What is your favourite thing about living and working in Aberdeen?
The culture and sense of community are definitely amongst my favourite things about being in Aberdeen. It is fairly small as a city and often has a village-like quality.
In the last couple of years, I have been able to explore the creative scene in the city and it is thriving. Aberdeen is full of a diverse range of amazing creatives and host to the NuArt and Look Again Festivals to name but two. There is currently a real drive to grow and promote the creative industries in the city and I’m really excited to be a part of it.
What fashion trends will you be embracing this S/S?
I am greatly enjoying embracing a splash of really bright colour at the moment: not quite going completely neon, but definitely taking inspiration from it. I have been experimenting with a range of detachable and interchangeable straps for several of the bags and I love how much this can change the look of the piece and update it for the season. I much prefer to update my favourite pieces for the seasons rather than buying completely new ones.