Vanisha London: Where it all began
The journey for Vanisha London began at the age of twenty something in my small East London loft apartment filled with hoards of salvaged fabrics and several sewing machines. At that time in my life, in between working long hours and a hectic social life, patchwork quilting and hand embroidery was my main passion. I loved working with textiles, playing with colour and pushing the boundaries of creation. Often taking up to 6 months to finish a quilt or a piece of embroidery, I focused on intricate details to create pieces of art.
Wanting to expand my skills into the functional use of textiles, I started to learn leather work and improving my dress making abilities. Leather work was so different to anything I had previously done. It took a lot more strength to work and a completely different set of tools and construction to work with the new tougher materials. I connected with local leather makers in East London that were using discarded leathers, including old sofas and jackets and repurposing in them to create something new and beautiful. This inspired my earlier handbag designs that were made entirely from locally salvaged materials. I was able to make edgy and unique handbags for myself and create whatever was in my imagination. Although the primary focus was handbags, from time to time, I would upcycle unwanted fabrics to create carefully designed items of clothing as well. Being able to wear distinctive clothing and accessories enabled me to express my true authentic self. It was at this point that Vanisha London as a brand was unintentionally born.
In the early days of the brand, I was hand making edgy and funky upcylced bags using waste leathers and fabrics from local upholsters and sourcing hardwear from local suppliers. As with my patchwork quilts, I paid attention to detail such as the designs, thread colours, style of hardwear etc. Due to the limitations in sourcing purely waste leathers, I soon started to network with local leather suppliers, learn about the leather production and tanning process and how different leathers could be used to create different types of bags. It was at this point I took the leap to go into small batch production using local leather manufacturers.
I was committed to supporting local business in the creative East End for all aspects of the brand from sourcing materials, to manufacturing and packaging. However, several samples and production runs later (this would need a whole dedicated blog post to go into detail!), and limitations in the leather handbag side of manufacturing in the UK, we eventually went into manufacturing abroad in Europe. The rest is history. Many years into the process, Vanisha London was officially launched in 2021.
As our brand evolves, I have little doubt that there will be many more chapters to add to this story. We are already working on new handbag designs and in the process of exploring ventures into other aspects of fashion. The concept behind Vanisha London is to bring catwalk-worthy fashion to the every day woman with non-traditional, season-less, expressive designs; where style is an art form.
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