Having grown up surrounded by an array of designers, Tyler Ellis has design running through her veins, wanderlust in her toes and family at the heart of her brand. Quite literally as her late father’s handwriting hugs the hardware on each of her pieces.
Her bags are often seen charming the red carpet as the brand is beloved by her celebrity clientele which is no surprise as Tyler knows the importance of excellent craftsmanship. Her bags have been seen on Cate Blanchett, Chrissy Teigen and Priyanka Chopra Each item is hand stitched and hand painted to perfection in her atelier in Florence. Tyler Ellis is a woman after our own heart and we couldn’t wait to hear more about her inspirations.
What is your most treasured accessory?
A charm bracelet that I turned into a charm necklace. It was my grandmothers on my father’s side and she gave the bracelet to me as a little girl. It has charms from her travels all over the world.
How did Tyler Ellis come to fruition?
Aside from the fact that I love accessories, I found that no matter where I travelled to I always saw women carrying the same handbags from the same luxury labels. This inspired me to follow my passion and create my own brand, of the same, if not higher quality, distinguishing myself with unique, and functional designs.
What challenges have you faced since launching?
Finding the right atelier was the first battle. It took me over 3 years to find the right artisans, people who understand and appreciate luxury and the importance of details in the same way that I do.
Another challenge was something Michael Kors mentioned to me before I started my career. He told me to surround myself with the best people possible; something which at the time I took with a pinch of salt, but something which now resonates deeply. Finding competent, loyal people who truly have your back and want success for the company is one of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle. I have learned the hard way multiple times. But in the end, trust your gut, because no one knows better than you do when it comes to your company.
How do you manage to stay creative?
As the designer Lars Neilson once told me…always keep your eyes open. Pay attention to details, examine floor patterns, look at door handles, at the bark on a tree, you never know where the next bit of inspiration may come from!
When/where do you feel most inspired?
Inspiration comes in waves and you cannot force it. But usually when I’m traveling my eye catches tons of interesting details, and I jot them down on cocktail napkins or hotel stationary, and then, when I’m alone on a long flight, or at home by myself in the morning, I begin to piece together all of the small details I’ve gathered and create a new special Tyler Ellis design.
What is it about travelling that inspires you most?
I love seeing new places, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. The world has so much to offer, and so much to be inspired by.
What’s the secret to creating an accessory that’s so timeless?
One of my original goals was to design pieces that my granddaughter would covet. Designs that are relevant throughout all trends, which come and go and become almost like heirlooms to pass down from one generation to the next.
I believe in cutting no corners and creating functional pieces in classic silhouettes and pairing them with playful yet elegant materials. I focus on intricate details to make the bags as practical as can be, while still remaining aesthetically beautiful. Though I do create collections for seasons, my bags are seasonless. You will have your Tyler Ellis piece for a lifetime and never be pinned to “x” season during “y” trend.
What made you decide to produce everything in Italy & why is this important to you?
Italy is the mecca of leathers and artisanal perfection. Looking at a label that says handmade in Italy used to speak volumes about a brand. But sadly, products truly “hand made in Italy” have become a dying art. There is a law that now states you can claim “Made in Italy” as long as you assemble the final pieces of the product in Italy – meaning you can build the bag in countries with less experience often with a cheaper workforce, yet still claim that it is made in Italy.
My atelier in Florence is father and son owned and solely employs Italian women and men, which has become a rarity, making them one of the few ateliers left who can truly call their products 100% “handmade in Italy”. I couldn’t be more grateful to work with such genuinely, talented artisans .
What are your investment pieces & how do you look after them?
I have an incredible one-of-a-kind sable bag that was one of my first designed called Harold, after my maternal grandfather. It’s an incredibly indulgent piece, but could not be more stunning!
All of my pieces live in their micro-fiber/satin lined “Thayer blue” dust-bags…and I make sure to never let them see sun while in storage because the sun can fade and damage skins.
Can we expect to see you working with any new materials in the next collection?
I introduced Chainmail in gold, silver and gunmetal this past season and it was a huge hit! I sold out of the pieces almost immediately!! Currently I’m working with Swarovski to create a few very special, limited edition pieces…stay tuned!
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