- Julia Gash
After travelling 24 hours from Tokyo to Sheffield, with the last mile on trudging through snow on foot, I have finally arrived home. Seeing cherry blossom on Thursday in Tokyo and a snow blizzard on Friday in Sheffield was crazy.
I've spent the best part of the last two months on the road, or more accurately, in the sky, as I've travelled from trade fair to trade fair in the UK and US and finally to Tokyo in order to showcase our first collection of our own brand bags "Talented Totes" to buyers worldwide. It all started with a Winter Wonderland snow storm one dark, January morning as I headed over the Pennines to Manchester Airport, and onward to New York. It ended with a long journey up the M1 in a blizzard from London Heathrow to Sheffield, having returned from Japan the same day. It's been a long, cold winter but one that has enabled me to germinate lots of ideas all those journeys.
I've also got to meet lots of lovely people and to find out what totes mean to them. Here's me with Tomoha, one of our buyers from Japan, at her showroom in Tokyo.
It's given me a new focus for my work at BIDBI as I now major on taking Talented Totes forward. I can't wait to start designing the new collection and scouting for up and coming designer talent to join me for our second collection. We will be expanding the range into four collections next season: TOTES BRITAIN (with work by British designers); TOTES WORLD (which includes work from bag artists from around the world); TOTES WWF (which features the designs we produce for World Wildlife Fund for Nature and which contributes to this worthy cause) and my own collection under my own name, which will be more quirky and high end.
In the meantime, there's lots of beautiful bags to make for other businesses and I'll be joining the rest of my team tomorrow to do just that. Whilst I was at the British Embassy in Tokyo, a fashion journalist attedning the event was carrying a bag that BIDBI made for the National Portrait Gallery last year. It's such a thrill to go to the other side of the world and see a bag we've made in action and well loved by its owner too. And just look at those amazing tights (gun and holster print) ... I want a pair of those!