Check out Thick As Thieves Leather Satchels latest article in the Dominion Post’s Life Magazine and cover image:
A costume designer,publicist and Oxford grad are behind new fashion brands, writes Sarah Catherall.
Like many things in life, when you want something and can’t find it, that’s an inspiration to go out and create it. Such was the case for the pioneers of two new fashion startups—an underwear label, Now or Never, and a satchel brand, Thick as Thieves.
Growing up in London, in the United Kingdom, Stacey Jones is too young to remember the days when kids went to school with a leather satchel strapped to their backs. However, now living in Tauranga with her husband, the 32-year-old returned to London to visit two years ago and was surprised to see the number of retro satchels in bright colours being carried around the high streets. The satchel was the school bag of choice for many British children from the early 1900s. Even today, that legacy continues in the fashion world, with brands like the Cambridge Satchel Company handmaking leather satchels based on the design classic. Jones hoped to buy one back here, but the only satchel she could find was a PVC, plastics style one. ‘I wanted a beautiful satchel that would last and that got me thinking about how there was a gap in the market,’’ she says.
The fashionista who first became aware of fashion aged four when she turned a yellow balaclava into a mini dress launched Thick as Thieves last year. Stocked in Wanda Harland in Petone and Madame Fancy Pants on Cuba Street, she says: ‘The brand name is this idea that we have these amazing and enduring relationships with bags, just like old friends. Your bag is with you through thick and thin and a great one [like a best friend] will go on the adventure with you.’’
Jones had worked in advertising in London before she left on a trip through South America with her husband and found herself in Tauranga when he landed a job there. That was four years ago. Now pregnant with their first child, her 100 per cent leather designs are made in Hong Kong, coming in a burst of fruity colours and two different sizes.
She plans to add wallets, iPod cases and leather and wooden necklaces to the range. And even though Thick as Thieves satchels replicate a design classic rooted in English history, Jones has modernised them. Her smaller satchel is perfect for storing an ipad, while the larger design fits a laptop and, more perfectly, a MacBook Air. They also take her back to her days studying at Oxford University, when she carried her books around in a battered, vintage satchel bought from an op shop. She says: ‘‘I don’t own a lot of bags but I treasure them for a long time.“