Behind every successful fashion brand that springs up is a story and a problem to be solved. While some brands are out to promote black culture in society, others are set to revive the dwindling leather and textile manufacturing industry in their local community. The latter is the reason Paradise Row was birthed.
Founded in East London in 2017 by Nika Diamond-Krendel, Paradise Row was established to revive the dwindling leather and textile manufacturing industry in that area. East London which was once known as a bustling textile manufacturing hub lost that title when luxury brands moved production from there to China due to lower costs.
Now, only a few manufacturers remain in that area, and Paradise Row is one of them. The brand which is known to be one of the only few British brands to produce in London engages the services of local talents who have been working with leather for over 30 years.
The core ethic of the brand is built on manufacturing bags locally in East London. They bring together the artisan bag workshop and the local designer to make each bag a ‘testimony to local trade working in harmony to create something truly unique.’
All their bags are made from high-quality leather which is designed to stand the test of time and are a celebration of local craftsmanship.
Paradise Row and Sustainability
In the way of sustainability, the leather Paradise Row uses is made naturally with vegetable tanning. Vegetable tanning is an old-world artisanal method which is chromium-free. This practice takes advantage of the tannic acids naturally found in barks, branches, leaves and some fruit, creating a more natural and organic look.
Also, all the bags the brand makes are 100% designed and manufactured in London by the locals. The essence of the brand is built on sourcing materials and manufacturing in East London and each bag is a testimony to local trade working to creates something unique.
The Paradise Row brand not only supports local trade but also reduces their carbon footprint by having all their workers close to one another.
Paradise Row Collections
Paradise Row releases a collection once a year and each collection draws inspiration from and celebrates different aspects of society, psychology, culture, and the arts. The fashion brand has released a total of 3 handbag collections in all; the CORE, EMPATHY, and HOURGLASS collections.
Their first collection, CORE, is inspired by the culture of East London where the bags are handcrafted. The collection celebrates the legacies which form the culture and essence of the community. Each bag has a charm that captures the history and character of the collection.
The charms on the bags in this collection promote the cultural institutions of the area including the London Buddhist Centre, the Pearly Kings and Queens, the Repton Boys Boxing Club, and the Cordwainers College (now LCF).
As a way to help out during this pandemic, all the proceeds from the sales of factory seconds of the CORE collection go to charities.
The EMPATHY collection is inspired by psychology and human emotion. The bags in this collection feature facial expressions embellished across them in gold. In total, the EMPATHY collection has 5 bags in it. The Hope, Love, Sorrow, Awe, and Joy bags.
The small circular shape of the bags in this collection makes them suitable for any occasion and has made them fast become a favourite with many.
The HOURGLASS collection was made in collaboration with acclaimed British artist, Venetia Berry, and is inspired by the arts and its depiction of the female form. The limited-edition range of handbags in this collection are embossed with Berry’s striking female shapes.
This collection is made up of 4 designs, each highlighting different parts of the female body that have been objectified over the years.
In line with collaboration, also, the Paradise Row fashion brand has collaborated with various organisations including the Petersham Nurseries, Town Hall Hotel, and Londrino (an award-winning Portuguese restaurant) to create bespoke pieces that range from gardening buckets to cardholders, cutlery pouches, and menu covers.
Apart from their bag collections, the brand also has a House Collection and a Pocket Collection. The House collection features a cutlery pouch and a large notepad while the Pocket collection features a cardholder and passport holder.
What is to Learn from Paradise Row?
As a fashion designer, you can be the change you want to see in the fashion industry. What you do can negatively or positively impact the manufacturing industry around you so you have to make a conscious effort to be different. You do not have to follow the bandwagon to succeed