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5 MINUTES WITH

BOTTLETOP

See how luxury design and artisanal craftmanship come together in the season's must-have charitable bag

Holt Renfrew Image Of Bottletop

Looking for a bag with a story to tell? Cameron Saul’s foundation, Bottletop, which blends luxury design with artisan craftsmanship, has a rich background that turns every one of his pieces into a talking point. In 2002, while working in Uganda, Cameron came across a handbag made from recycled bottle tops. After sending some of the bags home to his father Roger Saul, the founder of British luxury brand Mulberry, to be lined and finished, he realized his project had the potential to make a huge impact. With that the very first Bottletop project was born.

A decade later, Cameron Saul and Oliver Wayman founded The Bottletop Fashion Company, which uses contemporary art and music to raise awareness for sexual health education.

Most recently, Bottletop has collaborated with designer Narciso Rodriguez to create an exclusive line of handbags.

What are you striving to achieve with the company?

“We were able to raise a lot of money for education programs in Kenya and South Africa with our first project and I knew we had an incredible blueprint for an organization; to raise funds by using sustainable designs from areas of the world that we wanted to showcase. We initially established Bottletop as a way of empowering people through design.”

Holt Renfrew Image Of Bottletop Cameron Saul
Holt Renfrew Image Of Bottletop

How were the bags designed and how is each one created?

“All of the bags are made in Brazil, which was a first for Narciso because all of his products up until now have been made in Italy or the west. With this collaboration we are so proud of the products’ quality and the impact they’re having on the ground. The aluminum rings are braided to create a panel and this technique was perfected at the workshop. Everything is done locally in Brazil and all of the hardware is sourced locally as well.”

“We actually created our own leather. In Brazil there is a big problem with logging and deforestation and the main reason this is happening is beca

Holt Renfrew Image Of Bottletop

How were the bags designed and how is each one created?

“All of the bags are made in Brazil, which was a first for Narciso because all of his products up until now have been made in Italy or the west. With this collaboration we are so proud of the products’ quality and the impact they’re having on the ground. The aluminum rings are braided to create a panel and this technique was perfected at the workshop. Everything is done locally in Brazil and all of the hardware is sourced locally as well.”

“We actually created our own leather. In Brazil there is a big problem with logging and deforestation and the main reason this is happening is because farmers are trying to create new space for cattle to roam and graze. We worked to make sure that we knew exactly where our hides were coming from so we can be assured that they are not causing any deforestation. We are so excited that we were able to develop a quality of leather that is not only beautiful but that is also Amazon rainforest friendly.”

use farmers are trying to create new space for cattle to roam and graze. We worked to make sure that we knew exactly where our hides were coming from so we can be assured that they are not causing any deforestation. We are so excited that we were able to develop a quality of leather that is not only beautiful but that is also Amazon rainforest friendly.”

The two bags are named for Jessica Alba and Candice Swanepoel; can you tell us about that?

“The first is named for Jessica because she was the catalyst for the collaboration with Narciso. Another person that we met on the journey with Narciso was Candice. We asked Candice if she would like to take part and fortunately she was excited to join. She has sort of become the brand ambassador for Bottletop. She speaks fluent Portuguese so she was so natural with the women in the atelier in Brazil.”

Holt Renfrew Image Of Bottletop Candice Swanepoel

How do the funds from the sales of the bags go back to the charity? Why did you feel it was important to create a foundation that empowers and educates young people in the area of sexual education?

“The education side takes place though the Bottletop Foundation, which is funded through our projects like this collaboration with Narciso. The sexual health focus is based on the experiences I had while teaching in Uganda when I was 19. The AIDS pandemic is huge in the Sub-Saharan Africa and there are very few projects and little support to tackle the prevention and spread of HIV. It’s been one of our aims to tackle the issue in creative and empowering ways. 100 per cent of proceeds from the sales of the collaboration with Narciso go back to supporting the foundation.”

 

What has been the most memorable moment since launching Bottletop in 2002?

“One of the most memorable moments was recently at out NYC launch event. Anna Wintour gate crashed out party and we were so surprised. It was such a lovely surprise; we were really honoured to present the collection to her.”