As you may know, I do love a handbag. Especially it would seem, a cross-body one. Long gone are the days of my carrying around totes because now, I'm all about the hands-free life - much better suited for city living. Besides, if you've ever met me, you'll know just how many bags I carry around at one time for work - in my days off, I like to be as light and as carefree as possible. So when I come across a handbag that ticks all the boxes (stylish, good quality, cross-body, not extortionately priced) I pretty much do a mini celebration dance on the spot.
Earlier on in the year, I was introduced to Paradise Row, an East London brand which I'm positive you're going to hear a lot more about as it grows (it's not even a year old yet). The founder is the wonderful Nika who I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know. An East London resident, she wanted to create a brand that is filled with history and supports the area around here. And that's exactly what she's done with her core collection which consists of five handbags: The Pearly, The Boxer, The Buddha, The Mariner and The Silkweaver. Each tells their own story about East London and each has their own charm linking the bag back to the story.
When Nika asked which was my favourite, I stumbled. I genuinely loved them all. For me, it came down to the colour which I would wear the most and so, I said The Mariner, thanks to its gorgeous navy blue hue. I'm rather fond of the Ship's Wheel charm too, being a lover of being by the coast.
Here's The Mariner's story:
The riverside in East London became more active in Tudor times, as the Royal Navy expanded and international trade developed. In turn, businesses such as shipbuilding and ropemaking developed along the river and the banks became lined with wharves and warehouses storing commodities such as tea, ceramics and silks imported from the new world. The river has also brought with it new immigrant communities, adding to the diversity that has made East London a colourful melting pot of different cultures from across the world.
If you're ever lucky enough to meet Nika (she's a beauty inside and out) what you'll notice straight away is her passion for the brand and for East London. The focus is on East London, the stories are on East London and the bags themselves? They're made in East London too. Isn't that wonderful? Her attention to detail, pride in the bags and meticulous care is second to none, it truly is an honour to be one of the first to own a Paradise Row bag.
Discover Paradise Row here and shop outfit links below.
Photography by Amber Rose Photography