x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

A chance to bag a spot

Recognising regional appetite for the accessory, the London College of Fashion has launched a new four-day course focused on handbag design.

Students of the London College of Fashion. Courtesy London College of Fashion
Students of the London College of Fashion. Courtesy London College of Fashion

From satchels, hobos and totes to barrels and trapezoids, the popularity of the humble handbag has endured through the ages.

Recognising regional appetite for the accessory, the London College of Fashion (LCF) has launched a new four-day course focused on handbag design.

Running from September 28 at Dubai’s Vida Hotel, it’s one of two new programmes the LCF has added to its annual winter schedule.

“Our exciting new courses – Handbag Design and Fashion Drawing – have been introduced into the programme following requests from students,” says Linda Roberts, senior business manager at the College.

“Accessories continue to be one of the fastest growing areas of fashion, especially in the Middle East, with handbags leading the way.”

Roberts says the course, which equips students with the basic skills to fashion their own line, is one of the most popular at the LCF’s main site in London.

Emiratis and expats who sign up for training in Dubai will be walked through the stages of market research, design, fabric selection, hardware detailing, surface decoration and manufacturing.

Imparting her wisdom to the class will be Ann Saunders, a UK-based designer, consultant and part-time lecturer with the LCF.

“This is a beginner level course so no previous experience is necessary,” she says. “I would say this course is perfect for those who wish to start their own handbag label or those who want to gain a thorough understanding of the handbag design process. We’ll focus on designing a range of handbags alongside coordinating purses or wallets.

“And we’re always looking at new opportunities in the region, so we may decide to offer an advanced level course in the future should demand arise.” 

Roberts says take-up for the ­entry-level course has been strong to date, which is not necessarily the case with all the programmes on the syllabus.

“When we introduce a new course to our Dubai portfolio, bookings can sometimes be slower as people take their time to consider it, but this course started to take bookings immediately,” she says.

The reason, according to Roberts, is obvious. “Our appetite for gorgeous handbags doesn’t diminish. As we know, bags and other accessories are a great way for customers to ring seasonal changes in their wardrobes, introduce a pop of colour or buy into a trend, so the prospects for handbag designers are very exciting.”

About Ann Saunders

• Began her career designing silk prints in Como, Italy

• Moved to Denmark as a print designer with InWear Matinique

• Worked as design coordinator for Laura Ashley

• Now runs her own accessories company and consultancy – www.annsaunders.com

• The short courses in Dubai run from September 20 to October 1. The four-day Handbag Design programme runs from September 28 and costs approximately Dh5,400 and there is a 10 per cent discount if booked online using the code LCF-ME-10. Visit www.fashion.arts.ac.uk/middle-east or call 050 915 0759

rduane@thenational.ae