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Jayne Hemsley started her brand Hemsley London after working for a number of high profile designers. Her goal was to create a luxury fashion-led accessories range, reinvented for the modern woman.


When did you first become interested in designing bags?

I have always invested in beautiful bags, but often found myself not using them because they were impractical in some way. I needed a bag that I could rely on and do everything I wanted it to. There is also nothing more frustrating than looking for something in your bag when you know it’s in there! I had to put a stop to this part of my daily routine.

You worked at Roland Mouret and Sophie Hulme. What did you learn?

Watching Roland Mouret work was incredible, he literally rips the cloth with his hands, pieces it together and there you have the perfect dress. If something works the first time leave it that way. A lot of people over complicate the design process, simplicity can work. I was at Sophie’s during the early days when it was just the two of us, so I learned a lot about how to set up a new business. Being nice to people can work!

When was the moment you realised that you wanted to start your own brand?

The brand is derived from the initial product range which was based upon my own needs. I am forever losing things and always in a rush. We keep everything in our bags and I needed a bag that could keep up with me. I also wanted to bring a fresh angle to the design which was practical as well and not just a one season wonder.

What are the most valuable lessons you learned being a startup?

You can’t put a wise head on young shoulders, we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. And always go with your instinct. 

What are the components for creating an ‘it’ bag?

There needs to be an added value to the bag which makes it personal to the customer. Hemsley London provides the bag as a base with hidden compartments and pockets for personal items. Secured accessories can be added to allow the customer to build a bag of their choice around their own lifestyle. We are too dependent on our bags and everything in them to misplace the contents or emptying our bags out to find what we are looking for. Hemsley London bags keeps everything organised – exactly where you want it.

What are your plans for the future?

We have a strong interest internationally. I would love to explore these markets and grow the product range organically. My customer is the most important person to me, I want to take the time to listen to them and give them a product we are both happy with.

When and where are you happiest?

There’s nothing more pleasing than sketching out your designs and seeing them come to life, I have an amazing team of people around me, all very talented and creative and it always suprises me how well our ideas translate into the finished piece. I love working with my team, I’m very lucky to have them.

Image: Hemsley SS14 ad. See more at