There is little doubt that New Zealand-based designer Georgia Davison, of Georgia Jay, is set to shake up the fashion industry when she unveils her SS17/18 handbag range. Davison is always drawn to function meets luxury in products, but it's this collection which best exemplifies her mission statement — each product is somehow distinctive and simultaneously timeless enough for to pass on to future generations. Davison's in-house production utilizes materials that are locally accessible, ensuring they environmentally sustainable and stimulating the New Zealand economy (each scrap of suede or leather that goes into Davison's bags are casts-offs from the meat industry or designer seconds). Read our chat with Georgia below and check out our premiere of Georgia Jay's best collection yet.
If you had to sum up your line to someone who is new to its ethos, how would you describe it for them?
Unfussy and modern, designed with thoughtful consideration for refined details and natural qualities, made by hand in New Zealand.
What was the inspiration behind this collection?
For us, design and material work hand in hand. With such a practical and personal item as a woman's bag, we are working with such subtle design refinement. So many elements need to be considered within such a compact item where quality, practicality, and design all needs to align to create a successful piece. With this range we've taken ideas of some of our initial shapes and designs and further developed and refined longstanding favorites, then with the added freedom that being in-house has given us we were also able to introduce shapes and styles we previously hadn't had the ability to develop this intimately but had always wanted to explore.
I take it there was a very specific mood board involved?
Our mood board is mostly based around exploring color and texture of various materials and this season we have evolved to include canvas and wood alongside our staple leather, suede, and brass. Our two significant leathers for this collection are a very soft pale peach that sits alongside a dirty deep rhubarb. These colors were the spark for us that felt very creamy, curvy and feminine but still had gritty, sculptural undertones. We pushed this theme within our design subtleties and details, playing on curves and arcs whilst also introducing a harder triangular/trapeze shape and playing with the balance of these two contrasting contours.
What motivated you to spotlight that specific color palette and overall an asymmetric design layout?
We always begin a collection by hunting through our local leather suppliers for colors and texture to inspire us, this begins the forming of a color palette and feels for the season's themes. Given that we are working with designing pieces that are very intimate to your everyday life I gravitate towards colors that feel like they will have a timeless appeal, then we often push one or two colors that are a little more fun, having something more unique and special on offer. We can usually only find the fun colors and textures in small runs which means they only come in a very limited run of selective styles, adding to their charm.
As part of our refinement process, for our two last collections, we've been eliminating any excessive hardware that overpowers the simplicity of our designs and minimizes added bulk and weight. This resulted in the subtle asymmetrical shift in our strapping and hardware details, keeping only what is truly necessary.
Every single one of your pieces are created with so much depth, did you have one piece (or stage) throughout this line that was the most difficult for you?
Our most exciting exploration this collection has been introducing the wooden handle Orla bags. We began developing the handmade maple wood handles with our lovely friend Talica (who specializes in wooden objects) and within a month or so of prototyping different woods and exploring various proportions we had our first pairs of sample handles to work with. From here things started to develop quite quickly as we were able to begin playing with shapes for the leather body and start to see how the two materials could best complement each other, it became a very decisive and circular process with each refinement of either element influencing the other.
Working in such a collaborative way with another local crafter has been a really lovely experience and we couldn't have wished for a more harmonious result, as you hold the final handles you can really feel the care and consideration Talica has put into hand making every single set.
How does this collection differ from your past work?
This is the first collection we created every part of every piece entirely in-house! After investing in some equipment and taking on the entire production process (which we previously had to locally outsource the construction and sampling) we were able to have much more personal control over this collection. From the initial concepts to sampling, and continuously refining every design detail this has been a this has been a huge creative development for us as we feel it's all those purposeful refinements is what defines us as a brand.
Check the full look book and shop Georgia Jay here.