The Genteel
April 23, 2021


“Fred Bebby” Feathered Clutch made of fair trade coffee sack, soft grain leather and guinea fowl feather detail (Photograph courtesy of Lost Property of London and Pfeffer Pr).

Gorgeous South American jute coffee sacks, leather bomber jackets and remnant Liberty floral prints are only some of the unique treasures from which these beautiful bags are made. Formed out of the simple wish of extending the life expectancy of everyday materials, Lost Property of London uses an interesting and eclectic mix of lost and - more importantly - found fabrics, textures, typography and natural finishes to achieve the Rough Luxe style that has become their signature.

Lovers of the environment, Lost Property of London uses 100% recycled textiles in all of their designs along with handcrafted techniques, soley UK-based production and thoughtful attention to detail. Combined with designer Katy Bell's chic and timeless eye for style, the bags appeal to both the fashion-forward customer in the know and the environmentally conscious.

“Elwin” Eco Basket made of upcycled fair
trade coffee sack and natural hide
handles (Photograph courtesy of Lost
Property of London and Pfeffer Pr).

In 2009, prestigious London retailer Liberty formed a strong collaboration and friendship with Lost Property of London, helping them create an exclusive collection of fabrics featuring remnant Liberty Art Fabric, further accenting and complementing the luxurious finish of the bags and their quintessentially British feel.

It's no surprise that Lost Property of London has received tremendous press and has been featured in Vogue and Elle Decoration along with securing international stockists in New York, Italy, Hong Kong and Dubai.

I caught up with ever so charming founder and designer, Katy Bell, to get more insight into the heart of the brand and the inspiration behind the SS 2012 collection.

Over the years you must have discovered a lot of incredible treasures along the way. What has been the most unique find that you have used in your designs? 

It was an old blue leather bomber jacket and a vintage leopard print scarf which actually inspired me to make one of my very first bags! I even found the buckles for the bag on an old saddle I scavenged from a horse stable!

As for the current SS 2012 collection, I get very excited when I find amazing coffee sacks with flamingos and elephants printed on them. They are very rare.

Where do you go in London to be most inspired or feel most creative?

It's funny… sometimes I like to go where there are people. Broadway Market near London Fields, for example, always has something going on. But other times, I'll go for a long walk to Hampstead Heath and take in the beautiful London skyline.

I find inspiration and ideas often become clear when you step away from what you're working on. I also try not to look at other fashion collections when I'm designing, otherwise things can become a little too familiar and regurgitated. 

What inspired your current collection?

My move to North London last year. I constantly come back to architecture and structure within my design inspiration, so to focus on a new set of shapes within the buildings I now walk past everyday was a treat!

Faded signage always catches my eye and hidden typography, which you can see hints of in the collection.

My SS 2012 collection is aptly named the "EC1 Collection" (i.e. the postcode of London where I am now based). 

What would be your dream material to work with?

Something that there is in abundance, which has all of the right qualities. It needs to look good and be durable and malleable.

Faded signage always catches my eye and hidden typography, which you can see hints of in the collection.

As a fellow magpie, my closets are always overflowing with colourful magazine clippings, wrapping paper and sparkly embellishments. Have you found that you have had to curb your collecting? 

YES! Living in the middle of London means storage is in short supply.

The good news is that it means all of the ribbons, fabrics, buttons, vintage dresses and shoes that I own are all well worn and used as I have had to limit myself to only the best bits! 

I do find this so hard though, when there are so many amazing things everywhere! My new studio is quickly getting filled up with leather offcuts!

Was luxury an important element to you when you founded the brand?

I feel there should be no reason why a sustainable product be put into a different category than mainstream or high-end fashion. 

I have been given wonderful opportunities through setting up Lost Property of London that enabled me to be included no matter what, maybe because the designs stand up on their own merit. But I have heard this isn't always the case with other "green companies."

Design is always at the forefront of every one of my collections, they just happen to be sustainable too!

This is because I like to reuse things that have "lost" their purpose and also because I think, very soon, all designers will have to become aware and rethink their company ethos.

It would be much harder to do that half-way through rather than starting on the right foot to begin with. It's a no-brainer!

“Miles” Eco Traveller made from upcycled fair
trade coffee sack, soft grain leather and 
natural hide handles (Photograph courtesy 
of Lost Property of London and Pfeffer Pr).

Who is your favorite handbag designer, or most admired designer?

I definitely don't have one particular handbag designer that I idolise, but I do really appreciate bits and bobs of a very wide range of them!

The last design that caught my attention was in a leather belt and bag workshop in a sleepy town in the south of France last summer. 

You put so much love and attention into each piece. Is it ever difficult to part with them?

Yes it is, as you really do know every part of them inside and out and work so closely with them everyday. Luckily, I love seeing other people enjoy them even more.

Lastly, can Canadians expect to see your bags coming their way any time soon? 

Yes, I have a few things happening in Canada this year. We are still at the beginning stages of this, but watch this space! 

Any hints on what we can expect from the next collection?

I am cheering up at the thought of Fall 2012 with some new gorgeous colours! Oh and another form of texture within some of the new styles but for that you'll have to wait and see....

Lost Property of London:



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