Mary Jardine is well versed in the world of fashion, having owned her own modelling agency, organising photoshoots, fashion shows, advertising and marketing. So, in 2015 as a fan of handbags she founded Jardine of London, a luxury British handbag brand, that hopes to give consumers something stylish to carry their lives on the go. We interview Mary on her brand vision and inspirations.
How did your brand come about?
Unlike some of my competitors, I wanted my handbags to be stylish and chic without the excessive ostentatious branding. I wanted my customers to be proud of owning a Jardine of London handbag and feel they are part of something very special. All my products are handcrafted in England.
The so-called ‘light-bulb’ moment arrived when my children left home and I knew I wanted to create something fresh and make something that I would be proud of in years to come. I used to own my own modelling agency and had good experience in the fashion industry – I had always loved handbags.
What inspires your collection?
My inspiration for my first design came from childhood memories of my leather music case – hence the music bar detail. I wondered what it would be like to have something incredibly chic with lovely clean lines incorporating the bar but at the same time being practical. I feel I have achieved it with the Jardine of London ‘City’ Bag. My inspiration for the star used in my brand name – comes from the Jardine Star Brooch which was left to Queen Elizabeth II in 1982 by Lady Jardine. The brooch has eight points and a diamond is placed on a knife-wire between each point. This brooch is one of the Queen’s favourites. She wore it on her 90th Birthday and also for her Diamond Jubilee pageant river trip on the Thames.
Who do you design for? Are you inspired by a certain personality / look when coming up with ideas?
I design for women who want to feel smart yet have their own individual style. They don’t want to jump on the tube and see every other woman with the same branded handbag. They want something that actually works and feels very exclusive without a huge price tag. So far Jardine of London have supplied bags for Naomie Harris, Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Naomi Watts and Emma Watson.
All these women I think are inspirational – they are individual – they don’t like a uniform look. When I started thinking about what type of woman I was designing for – Alexa Chung was definitely in there at the front of my mind as a style I admire – followed closely by Olivia Palermo.
What designers do you look to for inspiration?
I adore Victoria Beckham’s style – I think she has created an exceptional brand. I also love the couture style of Ellie Saab – her dresses are beyond beautiful!
Describe your personal style?
I would say my style is a mixture. I am a jeans girl who loves floaty sheer tops, scarves and boots with heels. (Despite being 5ft 10”) On the rare occasions that I wear a dress – I tend to go for just ‘skimming above the knee length’ as this seems to suit my unshapely figure! I do very well in Jigsaw and a brand called Mint Velvet.
What’s next for the brand?
At the moment Jardine of London sells solely online through our own website and a new designer website called Wolf & Badger. I am in the process of sourcing a distribution avenue in Hong Kong and China. From the outset, I felt that my brand could hold huge potential as an international brand. Watch this space…
Will you be launching into accessories?
I have designs waiting to be put into production for smaller luxury leather items – such as a clutch bag, a pochette bag (make-up-bag), along with a smaller cross-body bag. The list is endless, but these will be first on the list.
What was the last thing you saw that made you stop and stare?
One of my production team making my new ‘goat-skin’ collection bags. I couldn’t believe how skilled she was and the standard of craftswomenship involved. The leather is just beautifully soft with a fine grain that gives Jardine of London’s bags their luxurious feel.