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Radley Stories

Craft & Design

Grow Your Own Joy campaign: In discussion with the Radley London Design Team

05 April 2022

The view from our London Design Studio seemed incredibly appropriate on the January morning when Team Radley caught up to discuss our spring campaign launch - Grow Your Own Joy. Outside the temperatures were unseasonably warm, and the sun beamed down on the sprawling green space of Green Park. Reminding us that even warmer days were just around the corner.

Our Director of Design, Zizi, drew attention to her Designers’ brightly coloured moodboards adorning the walls of this creative space. Now bathed in brilliant light. Highlighting the key trends and colours to come in the new season. Socially distanced and masks in place, we discussed how Grow Your Own Joy came to life. Enjoy part one of our two part behind-the-scenes chat.

Meet (some of) the team behind the bags you love; Zizi, Lucy, Sally, Liz, Sophie and Alice.

Let’s start by talking about your original inspiration for the spring collection.

Sally: It’s important to remember where we were this time last year when we started the research for this collection. Everyone was in lockdown in the UK, and we knew the future would still be uncertain in 2022.

Zizi: We wanted to embrace living a simple life and spotting joy in the small things. The things that were getting everyone through tough times.

Liz: Things we wouldn’t have done outside of lockdown. Like knitting, crafts and gardening (pictures of the team’s efforts below). Mindful and creative tasks that many around the world were rediscovering.

Zizi: So lockdown really gave us an appreciation for the simple joys in life. And being Designers, we could see how these tie in with the emerging style trends we want to champion.

Alice: There was a book that inspired us also. ‘Delight’ by J.B Priestley. It came out after World War Two when society was facing a lot of restrictions, somewhat similar to the pandemic, and it’s full of ideas for these simple pleasures. Such as walking around in a pine wood, and reading in bed when the weather outside is terrible.

Zizi: Our research process has changed so much since Covid. We used to travel, visit exhibitions, things like that. In the past couple of years it’s much more about searching for those gems like the book Alice mentioned.

Sally: We wanted to remember the things that helped many people through multiple lockdowns, like online exercise classes. We did these as a team, Lucy started them for us. One was set to Elvis Presley music, which was interesting as you can imagine. And that’s where the inspiration for Alice’s fantastic Yoga Dog sketches came from. 

What are some of the key trends to look out for in this collection?

Zizi: Our key influences for this season are vintage details and prints, and a celebration of hand-crafting techniques such as needlepoint and embroidery. Like the patch detailing on Joy Street, and on our really intricate Book Street and picture bags. We’re seeing the popularity for these kind of details go up every year. Our customers appreciate the immaculate workmanship.

Sally: Gardening has become everyone’s favourite hobby all of a sudden, even if you just have window boxes or a collection of houseplants. That idea of ‘grow your own’ is translated into styles like Knox Gardens. These basket bags are made in veg-tanned leather, and one style is even printed with vegetables.


Sally: The 1960s and hippy style currently seen on the catwalks also had a big influence on us. You’ll see this with our use of daisies and sun motifs.

Sophie: Also the monogram trend is huge at the moment, we wanted to create our own version of course. That’s where the idea for our heirloom print (as seen below on Apsley Road) came from. Alice led on this one.

Alice: We knew we wanted to have our Scottie mascot as the focus so we went through hundreds of combinations, moving him around every way, to get it perfect.

Lucy: Our new Radley by Design is our take on another huge trend. Being able to customise your bag and make it more you. It’s so versatile. The idea is that you need different things from your bag depending on the day, so you can add or take away as needed. We designed this to make life easier. The tiny bag is fantastic for keeping those things that would typically get lost in a big tote. 

Zizi: Ultimately, we know that our customers want colours and prints that will last the test of time, not look dated after one season, so that’s what we create. I personally love the faux snake textures that you’ll see in February. They’re a beautiful nod to vintage styles that will always be in style. 

And how about the key shapes to look out for?

Zizi: It’s all about being flexible at the minute. We’re still in a hybrid world, so we’ve made sure to include our fabulous large totes that we all love to use on days we come into the office. But we also have hobo styles and small shoulder bags, the ones that are the perfect everyday size when you’re not carrying a laptop.

Sally: We’re also creating more options in the styles we know everyone loves, for example with our new cross body flap-over Liverpool Street 2.0.

Liz: It’s so practical that you can carry all of these hands-free. While we’re still taking necessary Covid precautions like putting on face masks and sanitising our hands.

Lucy: I love our Lynscott Way bucket bag too, it’s such a key trend.

Zizi: Totally agree. It’s modern and clean, but with a nod to vintage styling, especially because of the beautiful leather we’ve made it in. 

Lucy: And another wonderful nod to vintage fashion is our Forest Way with smocking detail. This is an old-fashioned detail that was key for dressmaking. It gives such a beautiful effect and is crafted by hand. 

Where do you start with choosing the colour palette for these beautiful bags?

Lucy: It's an interesting process. We might start out completely set in one direction and then change our minds when we get the samples of the leather or fabric. In February for example, once we saw the swatches for Vintage Blue we knew we had to create as many styles as possible with it. Because it looked so beautiful.

Zizi: We always want to include our most-loved trans-seasonal colours, and then this season we looked for the mood-boosting, joyful pops we could layer on.

Liz: You can really see the retro inspiration of the colour palette when they’re incorporated into a print, they come together so dreamily. I love the yellows and browns together in the retro floral (coming in March). We looked at everything from old prints to homewares to get a real sense of design in that decade.

We’re going to be highlighting our Radley London moments of joy throughout spring. Can you share yours with us? How do you Grow Your Own Joy?

Liz: For me it’s trying something new. Always being a bit adventurous and not getting stuck in a rut.

Lucy: I think I’ve picked up some very wholesome habits from lockdown that still bring me joy. I hadn’t sewn a dress since university, but I took the time to make myself one this year and it was so enjoyable. I don’t think I would have actually sat down and done that at any other time in my life. I’ve also started making candles with my mum. It took care of all my Christmas presents this year.

Alice: My strange joy is going out for a walk in the rain. I love getting soaked to then come home and get really cosy. For some reason it feels great. Everyone should try it. 

Liz: I love to draw and paint as a way of relaxing in the evenings.  

Sophie: My local supermarket plays really amazing music, so my husband and I always have a little dance doing the weekly shop.

Sally: I love to go for a walk every evening and each night we will explore the streets around us. It’s incredible how many wonderful places you’ll find right next to you that you never knew about.

Zizi: For me it’s the early morning calm and quiet. I love to be up early, before my family wake up, to just enjoy the stillness of the morning. Especially when it’s dark and cosy. I can just sit and enjoy my coffee before the day begins.

We’re in awe of the attention to detail our London Design Studio have brought to each and every piece in our spring collection. Keep an eye out for part two of our chat with the Design Team, coming at the start of March. With plenty more detail on the newest styles.

Inspired by the theme of Grow Your Own Joy, we’ll be sharing our moments of joy throughout spring and encouraging you to join in. Discover more with our collection launch, where you can also get a closer look at the new spring styles.