>> Those who follow the other half's blog Style Salvage or remember this swooning post here will be familiar with the surreal curved luggage of Sarah Williams, an LCF MA graduate who has gone on to set up her own company Williams Handmade, set up to challenge the statement that "Historically exceptional craftsmanship was the norm, now it is the exception." Williams sees craftsmanship as something that should flourish. Of course she did admit in an interview with Steve that the only impeding her bespoke hand crafted pieces of luggage is the fact that it can become rather elitist. There's no getting away from the fact that just looking at the pictures of the pieces from her initial MA collection automatically makes me think that there's much £££ involved.
Williams stated that in her next collection, facilitated by winning the Absolut Accessories prize at ITS#9 in Trieste last year, she aimed to alleviate this problem of cost. I'm not sure whether she has achieved this or not but certainly, this new collection which was presented at this year's ITS#10 competition is less complicated, whilst retaining her eye-catching signature. With less undulating and obtuse curves in the collection, Williams has instead turned to Tetris-esque cases that fit together, semi-circles and cylinders and her own take on the traditional doctor's bag. I see a whole host of collaborative and own-brand opportunities for William's particular style of dramtically sturdy luggage and leather goods. The appeal is the same as when I go past Globetrotter in Burlington Arcade, pressing my nose against the window going "Ooooh...." and in Williams' case (no pun intended...), there's an even higher sense of luxury and craft involved in the making of these pieces. "Luxury market surges..." according to Atlantic Wire and British goods (via the as ever informative BoF). Good news then for the likes of Williams who instead of filling a market gap, creates her own special niche. Let's hope Williams British Handmade flourishes in this wake of luxury boom.