Designer Spotlight : Handsome Badger

Handsome Badger makes luxury, unisex, striking pieces that fit seamlessly into people’s lives. Each piece is hand-knitted from sustainable sources that make quality materials while supporting producers. We source our merino wool from an 80-year-old family business based in Peru, which works to support local shepherds and their families through community outreach. They produce the finest wool in the world by combining ancient Peruvian textile practices with cutting-edge manufacturing techniques. It is currently the only wool of its softness and thickness, spun using the latest technology into a chain which minimises pilling and creates a dimension of texture not found in any other merino in the world. All our unique pieces are hand-knitted here in London, designed to turn a silhouette into something extraordinary.

Here, we went behind the brand to find out more…

When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
I founded Handsome Badger because I love making beautiful things with quality materials. William Morris’s famous statement is that you should have nothing you “do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” – this has been my inspiration throughout the design process. The launch collection expresses the heart of the business – beautiful, useful, sustainable, transformative.

Whats your background?
Textiles have always been a passion of mine – my Grandma taught me to knit at the age of 7 and I haven’t stopped working with yarn since. Growing up in Yorkshire, I was surrounded not only by beautiful landscapes but also by a rich, historic textile industry. When I moved to London at 18 to train as an actress, I was still pursuing my love of craft and design, and took seasonal commissions. In 2013 I injured myself performing and during my months of recovery I returned home to Yorkshire and focused my energies on creating Handsome Badger. I’ve spent the subsequent few years testing suppliers and designs to get the model right from farm to customer. Eventually this led me to Peru, to source our signature merino, and to design the launch collection.

If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
So many things! It has been such a learning experience and I’ve been so lucky to have had some wonderful input from some incredibly talented people along the way. The main takeaway is that you must always assume that pretty much everything takes three times longer than expected!

What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Juggling! It really had to be a “one-woman show” starting out and whilst I had such a vision for the business and the products themselves, there were so many aspects I knew nothing about, from customs procedures to approaching retailers to SEO optimisation!

Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I have hypermobility in my joints which means they are super flexible – I’ve already had triple knee surgery by the age of 29. Bionic woman!

2018 is almost here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
I can’t reveal much but I’m working on a way of creating an entirely new yarn – one which can be formed out of any fibre, be it vegan/merino/cotton. Super strong and super beautiful! This will feature heavily in the SS18 range which will focus much more on homeware.

To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Every time we get an order – they’re al so special. Repeat orders make me do a happy dance –  knowing that a customer has loved the knitwear so much that they’ve ordered more is the best feeling!

Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without? BB Cream, Mascara and an eyeliner flick for luck. I also absolutely love Lush Vanishing Cream – it literally feels like smoothing a bit of love on your skin and is of course ethically sound.

Style means….?
Expressing yourself.

Best thing about London to you?
The endless possibilities, the myriad opportunities and the fact you can get wine delivered to your sofa 24/7!

Statement shoe or statement bag?
Shoes all the way – I was once told, “Invest in your shoes and your bed because if you’re not in one you’re in the other!”

If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
It’s technically a shoe but I couldn’t live without my Doc Martens for Life. They tick all the boxes; quality design and materials, super cool, replaceable at no extra cost and you can pound the streets of London all day in the bouncing soles!

Favourite love song?
Need Your Love So Bad – Fleetwood Mac.

Best place for a coffee?
Brickwood Coffee in Tooting Market, although being from Yorkshire I’ve generally got a mug of tea glued to me at all times!

Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
Life rewards action – my Dad.

Guilty pleasure?
Eating out. I love cooking but there has been such a food revolution in London the last few years – I can’t get enough. My bank balance is definitely suffering!

If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Porthcurnick Beach, Portscatho, Cornwall. It’s where I spent my childhood summers and I’m still so nostalgic for those hazy days.

In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
Handsome Badger is part of the sustainable fashion movement and by that token I’m trying to create a new production model that focuses on community and catharsis – no mass production or factories here. I’ve noticed over the years on acting jobs the symbiosis between actors and crafting, many people seem to be brilliant at both and so many actors struggle with downtime between jobs or auditions. I want to be able to create a workforce of existing creatives who can come together and be paid a fair wage to knit for Handsome Badger but also use the network for all their creative exploits.

Find out more…

The entire collection is available on www.handsomebadger.com and https://www.wolfandbadger.com/uk/designers/handsome-badger/

Insta – @myhandsomebadger

Twitter – @HANDSOMEBADGER

Facebook – /handsomebadger

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