Discover A_C Official, an Australian independent designer brand focused in creating luxury ethical handbags. The brand acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal owners of country, recognizing their continuing connection to land, water and community and ultimately pays respect mother Earth with its eco-friendly handbags.
When and where did your brand A_C begin?
A_C Official was born out of a love for Design and a commitment to the Earth. The business was founded to provide a sustainable but fashion forward alternative to the Leather and P.U. Accessories market. Initially, we launched in 2018 under a different name (Ahimsa Collective) but have since taken some time to rebrand and reset in the wake of the pandemic and relaunched in November of 2020 as A_C Official. We are based in Melbourne, Australia.
How would you describe yourself and your brand?
A_C Official is the culmination of frustration and opportunity. The brand represents my journey in Design as much as it does in Life. I have been a designer for my entire life, and I have also strived to uphold my values in my work. I was brought up to be mindful of my environmental impact and have an appreciation for Fashion and Design at the same time. I never understood why we had to choose between Fashion and the Environment and set out to create something that fit both moulds.
What inspires you and your designs?
I design classic, timeless pieces that will outlive each Season. I am inspired by innovation and development in the textile world as much as I am inspired by how fashion makes you feel. Mother Nature is the world’s greatest designer (I don’t care how cliché that is). Everything that comes from the Earth can return to it as long as humans don’t mess with it, that’s pretty amazing when you think about it.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
Meditation, ocean views and long walks. Another cliché I'm sure but sometimes the ideas flow to me when I’m trying to stem the thoughts. It’s almost like when I meditate, all the grey noise disappears and only the gems remain.
How long does it take to finish a product, from the initial design to the finished creation?
Sometimes the ideas are born complete and sometimes it can take me forever to make a decision. I usually find that the clearest ideas that don’t deviate from the initial plan are the best sellers. The others are risks and I probably should have taken heed of my own warning.
As an independent designer, what is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
Time. There is literally never enough of it. I am lucky because of the stage my life is in, I can allocate as much time as I like to my business. When kids come along, I’m sure that will change!
Which part of the creative process do you enjoy the most, and the least?
I love to draw. I love to sketch out my thoughts and cover the pages in details. Half of those things never make it off the page but it’s a release. I also love to sew and even though I don’t make the samples, sometimes the pattern making, or ideas can be crystallised when I am trying to make something work on my own machine.
Sustainability appears to be a very important cause to you. Why is that, and how did you first come across the alternative material used for your bags?
Sustainability IS very important to me, and it should be to every single person on this planet today. Sustainability or combatting climate change is no longer an option, but a necessity. I am honoured to be working with some of the most exciting textile innovations of the Fashion Industry. Currently I am working with plant-based textiles made from Cactus (Desserto) and Pineapple (Piñatex). I was granted the permission to work with these innovators after much coercion and consideration. Both were/are in their infancy, but I was lucky enough to get them to take a chance on my brand.
Which pieces in your collection do you think are must-haves for our readers?
OOOH… The Tote Modern II is a must-have, I think. Paired with the Heidi Slimline Wallet. :)
What are your short- and long-term goals for A_C?
I would like to get A_C to Climate Neutrality in the short term (and uphold it obviously!) and in the long term - I would like to be the go-to for Sustainable on trend Carry-goods for all genders and ages.