I was recently lucky enough to work on an artist collaboration with luxury handbag brand X NIHILO. This was definitely one of those projects that seemed a little more play than work, and as I actually began my career in Fashion design, merging illustration and Fashion has always been a happy place for me (Plus working with passionate and creative brands is a huge drawcard)

Established in 2016, X Nihilo is the brainchild of Jenny Hsieh, an entrepreneur with a passion for restrained luxury. X NIHILO - short for ex nihilo - is a Latin phrase that means “creation out of nothing”. The notion identifies X NIHILO’S aesthetics and vision to craft a sophisticated and honest range of leather bags for the modern woman.
Leather bags for the modern woman

Leather bags for the modern woman

The biggest challenge for this project, beyond coming up with an initial concept, was the technique. Painting on leather is a lot different from my old friend; paper, it's far more absorbent for starters so it required a lot of layering and patience (not exactly my strong suit).
Each of the three bags had a different surface texture so I had to adapt my technique on the fly. For example the "Julie" bag was quite a raised texture and soaked in the most paint, therefor the way I'd worked the paint on the other styles had to be adapted.
Also I've recently been working with predominantly watercolour and ink pens, so to pick up my acrylic paints again was a steep (re)learning curve. In fact I was so nervous about how unpredictable the results were that I procrastinated for about a week before applying that first brushstroke.

Based around the idea of a night garden each of the three designs work as stand alone pieces or a collection. The one of a kind bags were created in conjunction with X NIHILO's new campaign which launches next month (August 2017).

I would love to see these pieces out in the "wild" one day!
In the end the results exceeded my expectations and have certainly encouraged me to do a some more fashion/art experiments in my own wardrobe.

Who wouldn't want to carry around a galaxy?

Who wouldn't want to carry around a galaxy?

Layers of Progress

Layers of Progress

Thank-you to the X NIHILO team for  having me on board and for trusting me to create something with these 3 beautiful pieces. The below excerpt is from a Q&A interview X NIHILO did with me for the project (You can head over to their blog to read the full post).

I loved the idea of a collaboration with XNIHILO to blend art with luxury bags. Fashion is having such a DIY moment right now, everyone is able to create their own look and personalise or tailor items to suit them and this idea felt really current and relevant.

"I wanted to create a series that reflected my style and my current work but also of course something that I would myself love to wear.
The inspiration behind the 3 bags was the idea of a 'midnight garden'. I tend to collect things in my handbag, things I pick up and forget about, trinkets or ticket stubs, even leaves or flowers, it can become a bit like a memory box if I let it! So I liked the idea of painting a collection of memories or objects directly on the bags. This ended up being a mixture of the kind of creatures and flowers you'd find on a wander through a garden at night and the feeling that would evoke. Something a little bit charming and nostalgic but above all beautiful."

Jen xx
P.S. I would love to hear which bag is your favourite, so let me know in the comments below!