One of the things I love about travel is being exposed to new artists and fresh forms creativity. Edgy designs capture my immediate attention and effortlessly lure my inner shopaholic. But, once “frugal Sophee” steps up to the table, I struggle to open my purse strings. At that moment, I need to find a way to convince myself that a purchase is a smart investment, one-of-a-kind find, altruistic act or all of the above.


When I came across a Bottletop bag at my friend’s house in Devon, I was instantly captivated by its elegant-industrial style. Handcrafted using crocheted aluminium ring pulls, it was up-cycled “junk art” taken to another, sexier level. When I heard about the ethics behind the brand, I was hook, line and sinker sold. I had to have a Bottletop bag and discover the story behind this compelling, luxury accessory label.


Mini Amazonas-shot by ilkafranz-bottletop


Before clicking “commit to buy”, I picked up my phone and contacted Bottletop’s Co-Director, Cameron Saul. I wanted to make sure corporate responsibility hadn’t been stamped onto the brand purely for the sake of commercial gain – that there really was a whole lot of heart driving Bottletop at every touch point.


What I discovered delighted and inspired me. I simply had to write a blog about the company’s remarkable accessories and explain why they’re the perfect gift for design-conscious fashionistas who are passionate about protecting the environment and supporting underprivileged communities.



Bottletop-Luciana Silver Red - frontBottletop Mulberry Collab-shot by Tom Stoddart
Bottletop-Tatiana Mini White - front

Let me take you back to the early days of the Bottletop Fashion Company, when Cameron Saul and Oliver Wayman, two creative philanthropists, came up with a bright idea: to combine contemporary inspiration and the finest sustainable materials (namely super-soft, forest-friendly leather from the Amazon) with funky-fresh design techniques from Brazil. Working in partnership with the luxury British brand, Mulberry, they were able to finesse and transform a rustic chain mail bag into a Euro-Brazilian style which became a highly sought after, signature look for the Bottletop brand.


At the heart of this creative collaboration was a desire to help disadvantaged communities by funding youth education projects and other grassroots initiatives with company profits. Bottletop was also committed to keeping the manufacturing process in the hands of its originators, empowering artisans in Salvador by training and employing them to create high-quality accessories. Through its humanitarian efforts, the company was able to help over 35,000 people over the past year alone.


Production_Dani Rucksack
Bottletop-AW15 Campaign-AfricasOut-LaisRibeiroxCarolyn ToteBottletop Foundation - Mozambique2012-09-02 14.03.28


While ethical product manufacturing entered mass consumer consciousness a while ago, Bottletop continues to be a trailblazer in the high-end fashion market thanks to its heartfelt, holistic approach. The brand’s honourable values are thickly woven into every aspect of the business; and, unlike many other fashion labels, Bottletop has always been propelled by a desire to support charitable work through sales – not the other way around.


Ultimately, it’s been refreshing to finally come across a design-conscious brand, which embodies genuine integrity and provides a human face to fashion. Bottletop has a lot going on in the background, and I encourage you to investigate its initiatives, from the wildly creative to the fundamental, on its website. Just be warned, you will be tempted to buy a bag. But it’s ok, your purchase will be for a good cause.




Kehinde Wiley and Cameron Saul copy Bottletop-Nicky-Canvas_Side








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