Shifting to more ethical and intelligent ways of working is the zeitgeist of fashion in 2019. Slowly but surely, more brands are placing an emphasis on environmental consciousness – and, as ardent supporters of sustainable efforts, we’re celebrating the brands doing just that. Each week, we’ll be meeting the brands fashioning beautiful goods with the greater good in mind.

Aside from boasting all that you could ever ask for from a cult-status bag brand – be it a minimalist cross-body iteration, something itsy bitsy or this season’s look for belting around your waist – there’s a definite psychology with wanting what you 'can’t have' in the case of Zofia Chylak’s couture-beautiful arm candy. 

Leading the rise of this season’s must-have accessories, Chylak’s Made-in-Poland (Zofia’s home turf) and Italian leather-sourced styles are practically gold dust with waiting lists that are multiplying by the millisecondTo get the lowdown on their rapid ascension to stardom (and drool over them in the flesh) we sat down with Zofia to talk her big bag theory…

You studied art history, so your trajectory into fashion wasn’t direct per se.
Unlike many other designers who spent their childhoods making dresses for their dolls, I never thought about fashion when I was young; I grew up admiring my uncle [an esteemed cinematographer in Poland whose portfolio includes Harry Potter] – and aspired to follow in his footsteps. Although my family are innately supportive of me, they weren’t sold on the idea; it was that that led me down the path of exploring my other interest in the history of art. Via this, I soon felt the pull to explore fashion and the history of fashion; following my degree, I spent the summer at Central Saint Martin’s and then subsequently began working with brands, from a small designer in Poland to Proenza Schouler.

How did that develop into a specialism in accessories? Is it to do with your own personal aesthetic?
When I returned to Warsaw after working with Proenza Schouler, I began designing with Made-to-Measure; after about a year, the idea for accessories and bags came to the fore.

I always make things that I would wear… That’s half of the fun! (I don’t know how other designers go about it.) I’m all about black and brown (unless I’m experimenting with animal print – particularly python); colours aren’t very 'me', so I know that I’m not ever going to make a turquoise bag. The challenge is finding interesting patterns and textures while sticking to my palette. Because I design for myself, I never really expected the bags to have so many different lives and work with such a variety of looks – I love spotting my bags on girls with different styles. 

You’ve got waiting lists coming out of your ears! Why do you think this is?
The waiting list is so big – in fact, every time we produce, the list grows bigger and bigger. As soon as you tell someone 'you can’t have something', naturally, they start to want it more. We’ve been questioned in the past as to whether we had a strategy to do this from the beginning, but it honestly just happened naturally. (Granted, it would have been a brilliant strategy to implement from day 'dot', but it’s not one that we had!) It’s important for me to stay true to my production and not sacrifice the quality and care that’s poured into each bag just to meet the demand.

Simply, the bags are loved because they have it all; they’re elegant, affordable, chic and practical!

Catch them while you can! Click here to shop Chylak. 

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