Brady Chapman - Accessory Designer
At Backyard Opera we get the chance to meet a whole bunch of awesome fashion Designers, but it’s been a while since we chatted to someone who designs amazing accessories, and even longer since we spoke to someone who dedicates her craft to making incredible bags. This is why we were so excited to meet the beautiful Jacqui Brady-Chapman, who has recently launched her first line of luxe handbags, Brady Chapman. The 6-piece collection features bags with incredible materials such as snakeskin and springbok, in incredible colours and shapes (I’m totally obsessed with the Black Snakeskin Shoulder Clutch!) We met up with Jacqui to talk about the range and what’s keeping her inspired.
Your background has been in styling and creative direction and now you’ve moved to handbag design, what spurred your initial love for fashion?
I guess from a really young age I’ve always been into clothes. I have a fond memory of when I had this pink dress that I absolutely loved so much and I used to wear it so much that my mum would have put it up on the top shelves so I couldn’t get at it! (Laughs) Also my mum has been an inspiration, she’s always been really stylish and, in terms of accessories, I always have these memories of seeing her with these beautiful bags made with beautiful leather which were amazing quality, and she really cherished them, she still has them today. That’s part of the ethos of this brand, I’m making accessories to last forever that you know are quality and will be around so you can pass them on to your daughters.
What’s been your personal journey as a designer?
Everything has definitely stemmed from my experience working in the fashion industry, which has helped me a lot in terms of being around amazing designers, working globally, so in LA and London, with amazing people that have all been inspirational and stylish. But the journey is just beginning for me I guess, this is a new brand and a new label so I’m learning every day and still continuing to learn and that will happen for a long time yet.
Who is the Brady Chapman girl?
It’s a very versatile brand, the style behind the brand is very clean and chic and modern, it’s not too busy and that’s my kind of style in terms of accessories. If you have great accessories they can dress up any outfit and they just freshen up what you’re wearing and make it fabulous. The Brady Chapman girl is someone who is quite effortless in dressing, who loves fashion and loves looking great but is also very chic and stylish.
Do you think you’re at an advantage or disadvantage emerging as an accessories designer rather than a clothing designer?
It really depends where your passion lies, for me accessories have always been a big part of my life and I’ve always loved them. This is what I want to produce and what makes me tick so I can’t imagine doing anything else. Clothing design is different but it’s hugely similar, I mean I get inspiration from all the Ready To Wear shows and designers so it’s all interconnected.
Do you have a dream collaboration?
I think Australian designer wise I’ve always had a love for Ellery, I think she’s amazing, Josh Goot is also incredible. I’d to do any sort of collaboration with those guys I think they are real leaders in the Australian fashion industry, and they’ve obviously put themselves on a global scale which is really inspirational for Australian designers.
What’s your opinion of Sydney as a base?
Sydney, on a global scale, because of its population and the fact it’s a lot smaller compared to cities like London and Paris, can be limited compared to other cities in terms of diversity. But it still has its own uniqueness in terms of style. You can be overseas and live in London or wherever and come home and know that Sydney style will always be quite distinct. It’s nice, due to the weather and our culture; it’s great for work.
You’ve emphasised how important it is to use the best quality materials, can you walk us through the materials you’ve used in the debut collection?
It’s great for me because as the sole business owner and head designer I have full creative control over what I can use, which is great. The materials really inspire me in my work. The Springbok is incredible and I love how it works with different leathers to create more effect, and textures are really important for me, the snakeskin I use, I love it. It’s water snakeskin, it’s quite different and the texture is just beautiful, it speaks for itself really. I’ve paired that with other sheepskins and suedes and that diverse texture range is amazing. All the materials I use are very important in terms of the leathers and the skins and everything, I make sure they’re the best quality and that they are going to last.
How do you source those?
A lot of them come from Italy, but they can be from all over the place.
Tell us about the process of actually creating this first collection
It took a long time to be honest; I’m a bit of a perfectionist, which helped but also hindered at times. I started on this collection about a year ago and started to collect the materials and things that inspired of me. I worked with my makers because everything is hand made in Australia and I have a really close relationship with them which is really fantastic because I’m there all the time working on how its going to look and how it’s made. It’s wonderful for me because I have control over every aspect of how the products are made. So there are 6 pieces in this collection and that’s the result of a year of work.
How important is it for you to make your products in Australia?
I think for me personally it is really important they are made here. I need to see every step of how they’re made, it’s like my baby I don’t want to pass it over to someone I’ve never met. I really enjoy that aspect of being involved in it, that’s half the fun for me. It’s a nice collaborative process when you are working with your maker.
Now the collection is released can you have a break, or are you straight on to the next thing?
No definitely no breaks for me sadly (laughs), I’m actually already working on the next collection, hoping to have some great accessories launching as well, which is very exciting for the future. I want to expand the range, that’s the ultimate goal so I’m just designing and sourcing materials now. Whatever is in the next collection it will just be based around accessories, accessories galore!
By Grace O’Neill