All of us have our thing; that is, a skill that comes as second nature to us. For Emma Hill, it’s bags.

As the former Creative Director of Mulberry – credited for driving the brand to global success with cult styles like the ‘Alexa’ and ‘Del Rey’ – and with over 15 years of experience in the bag (pun intended), designing cult arm-candy is, and always has been, part of her DNA.

An accessories line of Emma’s own made for a very natural progression. Thus, in 2015, Hill & Friends was born – a business collaboration with a fellow Mulberry alum, Georgia Fendley, who served as Brand Director while Emma was in her design post. 

Now, with three years in business, the brand has established itself in the accessories arena for an ethos that emphasises fair trade and ethical practice – as well as designs that promise to make you “swoon, smile and walk a little taller.”

What's the mantra you tell yourself first thing in the morning? 
I’m a big fan of a daily mantra or two! “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”, Oscar Wilde; “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”, Dr. Seuss;“People will forget what you said, and forget what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel”, Maya Angelou.

How do you take your coffee? 
I lived in New York City for 13 years, which is where I became hopelessly addicted to drinking iced coffee from my neighbourhood deli... It’s a habit that I have never lost!

If you weren't doing what you're doing now, what would you be doing instead? 
I only ever wanted to be a fashion designer, so I've been very blessed to have spent my whole working life doing exactly what I always wanted to do. However, if I hadn’t spent my life doing this, my second choice was always to be a baker!

If you could only keep one outfit in your wardrobe, which would it be? 
Wow, that’s a tricky question for a fashion designer… I don’t think I can whittle it down to one – but, if I had to choose carefully, I would keep my go-to Yves Saint Laurent black tuxedo jacket; my very favourite 14 year-old faded denim Gauchos from GAP’s 1969 collection; my beloved Marc Jacobs buckle-detail high heels, circa. 2001; my gold script necklace that spells the word “Hudson” (my son’s name); and my current favourite (and most fabulous) Hill & Friends Alphabet Chain Bag, embellished on the front flap with my initials in our unique metal bubble-font letters... Total bag-crush!

Who's one person you'd love to have dinner with? 
I would pick my beloved father, Keith Hill, who died in 2006. He was, and will always be, my absolute hero and the funniest, most intelligent person I have ever known – and the best dinner companion ever!

What's the main thing you would like to achieve this year? 
We are so excited to be bringing our production back to the UK this year; it will be such a huge achievement for our brand and it will make me incredibly proud to be able to return to 100% British manufacture.

Who would you want to record your audio autobiography, voice-wise? 
That’s an easy one: The late, great Welsh national treasure, Richard Burton CBE, of course! He was from South Wales – as is my whole family – and I could literally listen to his dulcet and dreamy baritone voice forever. 

Why did you end up doing what you do? 
I was always, always obsessed with all things fashion – a lifelong obsession that began with how much I adored my Brownies uniform (complete with leather waist-belt!), through to my constant obsession with altering my school uniform at home on my sewing machine, which led to multiple detentions for breaking all the strict school uniform policies!

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More 8Qs:

+ Han Chong: "Fashion is the most versatile art form"

+ Tina Lutz: 
"I got a sewing machine from my parents and started sewing for the entire family"

Saloni Lodha: "I always wanted to be an artist and live by the sea in Pondicherry"