The Bite Magazine - Autmn/Winter 2020 - Issue 28

WILLIQUE   Cristina Lloyd discovers the sustainable ethos behind Anya Willique’s Caribbean and classic English inspired handbags through her namesake brand. bitebags EMBRACING THE CARIBBEAN-ENGLISH VIBE A fter migrating to the Turks and Ca- icos Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas where she was born and raised, Willique found- er Anya Willique became creatively influenced by the vivid colours and textures of the island’s scen- ery. She later moved to London via the United States to continue her degree in business, and it was here she discovered beauty and inspiration in the city’s vibrant culture and juxtaposition of old and modern architecture. Through her initial curiosity and personal love for luxury handbags, Anya became interested in the design process and craftsmanship implored by some of the iconic handbag designers. She went on to produce a small range of bags that she gave as gifts and following positive feedback from friends and family, took the bold step to establish her namesake brand. The concept of premium craftsmanship and bold, architectural aesthetics lie at the core of the Willique brand. Anya’s vision is for men and women to appreciate both the beauty and craftsmanship within a most practical necessity: the handbag. “Marrying my love for luxury leather goods and a need to chan- nel my creativity - it was only natural that I should venture into handbags. As a self-taught, young, female designer who has been fully immersed in every aspect of establishing Willique, I am both passionate about promoting millennial Bahamian talent and showcasing the quality and durability with my designs worldwide.” In an interview with BOE (Business of Everything) Magazine, Anya revealed that “London really al- lowed me to open my eyes and think outside of the box when it comes to my fashion and style.” She also found London fashion incredibly inspi- rational. Whilst she was surprised by the free- dom, confidence, and style expressed by London- ers, she added, “I was also really quite shocked at how much fast and disposable fashion was being bought and consumed by the city.” This revelation encouraged the designer to raise awareness of sustainable fashion and inspire peo- ple to be more eco-friendly. “It’s such an impor- tant part of my ethos, so the fact that I’m able to make a difference and increase awareness is just so important to me.” Anya has demonstrated that the ethicality, sustainability, and green ideals within fashion, with the core values of diversity, ethical practices, resourcefulness, quality, and slowing down consumption can produce luxury leather goods. This is the reason Willique uses the finest quality leathers and hardware with a pure appreciation for functionality. Anya’s designs implement a sub- tle nod to classic English design with references to her Caribbean heritage. With an emphasis on durability and longevity, through sustainable and ethical practices, her accessories are influenced by her extensive travels around the world, refer- encing her experiences, wanderlust, and personal memories. As the name implies, the Wanderlust collection is ‘inspired by travel’ and ‘designed for exploration’. The Wanderlust Mini is made from soft Italian leather with tropical luxury in mind. This par- ticular design is inspired by the designer’s Carib- bean heritage and the environment of nature. It is designed for an island getaway with a twist on a traditional straw ‘market bag’ often found in the Caribbean. It features fine woven details wrapped around the edges and equipped with golden fix- tures and a bamboo handle. Made from pure leather in Italian chocolate and black, the Wanderlust Satchel is perfect for every- day wear. It is paired with silver fittings and an additional strap and designed for both men and women. Perfectly large and directional, the Wan- derlust Tote in pure leather with detailed stitch- ing, a Kangaroo pocket, and tasselled zipper, is the perfect accessory to carry when jet-setting and incidentally, one of the first handbags created by Anya. It is designed for those who wish to pack any and everything.