London based designer Mimi Berry founded her brand Mimi in 2001 and each season launches a new collection for both men and women which offers style, class and sophistication. Designing weekend bags, satchels, clutches and purses this graduate from Central Saint Martins regularly exhibits at London Fashion Week and has gained an international reputation for her commitment to classic craftsmanship and understated design. I absolutely love her bags!
All of Mimi’s pieces are made from exquisite Italian leather, are manufactured in the UK and come in array of beautiful versatile shades including scarlet reds, yellows, rich browns and bright metallics. Mimi was even commissioned by Tate Britain in 2007 to design a unique collection of leather bags, purses and cardholders to be sold exclusively at Tate Shops. The range was so successful that it remains ongoing with new styles launched seasonally!
The Mimi store in London is definitely worth visiting! Wooden floors, gilded mirrors and traditional English haberdashery cabinets and industrial light fittings fuse beautifully with Berry’s collections.
I was extremely lucky (and excited!) to have interviewed this talented designer and here is what Mimi had to say!
Jamie: Did you always know that you wanted a career in designing bags?
Mimi Berry: Absolutely not. I did a fine art foundation and then fashion design at Saint Martins. I thought I’d end up painting or making clothes. I’m entirely self-taught when it comes to leatherwork.
Jamie: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?
Mimi Berry: Everything and everyone around me. There are always constants though: furniture design. Especially chairs and county pursuit clothing.
Jamie: Exhibiting at London Fashion Week must be exciting. What have been some other highlights of your career?
Mimi Berry: Knowing that what I make and sell people come back for again and again. It’s a wonderful feeling making something someone else appreciates. The ongoing collection for the Tate is really rewarding too.
Jamie: What made you decide to use Italian Leather for your pieces?
Mimi Berry: It’s lovely to feel, the colours are spot on and the quality.
Jamie: Did you expect the Mimi for Tate collaboration to be as successful as it is?
Mimi Berry: I hoped it would be.
Jamie: Do you find it challenging creating pieces for men?
Mimi Berry: Men’s wear is a different kettle of fish to women’s. So, yes, it takes a different approach. I ask advice where necessary from my boyfriend and friends.
Jamie: Who are your Top 3 bag designers and why?
Mimi Berry: Well it’s easier to say who my top three fashion designers are in general. I suppose they would be at the moment: Celine, Bottega Veneta and Hermes.
Jamie: What made you decide on the décor of the Mimi store?
Mimi Berry: It’s grown this way. I was really lucky in that I was given my first glass drapers’ cabinet, and the other vitrines I bought from various friends’ shops that were closing. The wooden floor is an old dance floor from a Clerkenwell Social club.
Jamie: Do you have a favourite design from your ladies’ collection? If yes, which one and why?
Mimi Berry: Clementine. Perfect shape and size. It’s also named after one of my friend’s twin daughters.
Jamie: What do you have in store for your future collections?
Mimi Berry: More menswear! We get countless men coming in with their girlfriends / wives / sisters and always ask what we have for them. It’s really nice to be able say, look at our Rucksacks & courier bags! That’s what makes them leave happy.