Interviewing Tamara Fogle, designer and founder of the Tamara Fogle brand of bags, has been one of my favourite West Londoner interviews to date. I first caught sight of her bags in The General Trading Company and now, I’m a proud wearer of her Portland bag.
Are you West London born and bred?
Absolutely. My parents moved to Ladbroke Road when I was 10 years old and I have lived here in Notting Hill ever since. My brother, Ben and his family live in the next road and my parents are still in the area too.
How did you fall into handbags?
I have been making handbags for ten years now. In the very early days I sold my home-made bags in Portobello Market. I have to pinch myself when I stop and realise that the Tamara Fogle brand is now sold worldwide. In the days before I founded the business, I was an interiors stylist for magazine shoots, but I have always been massively inspired by vintage and antique textiles.
What is it that you love about living in this area?
I know many locals are scathing of the way the area has changed, but I love it. The way it is constantly evolving fascinates me. As a creature of habit, I love a drink at The Cow, a cup of tea and custard tart at Lisboa on Golborne Road and I often grab a coffee at Coffee Plant on Portobello before walking the dogs. Despite its popularity with tourists, the area still has a village feel.
Tell us where you like to shop?
Wherever possible, I prefer to shop in independent retailers. My local favourites include Lutyens & Rubinstein for books, My West Village for clothes (both on Kensington Park Road) and St Helen’s Foodstore.
Do you find the area inspiring?
Primarily I am inspired by fabrics and textiles, particularly vintage ones, so whenever I visit the Friday vintage market on Portobello, I tend to come home with tons of ideas. (Tamara has a line of bags made using Hungarian grain sacks dating back from the 1800s).
How many of your customers are West Londoners?
Quite a few of my friends and family carry my bags! However, now that I sell across the country and in places as far flung as Japan, USA, Australia and Scandinavia, I suppose West London is just where they all start. Each of the bags is named after my local roads so the owner is reminded of their roots!
What’s next on your to-do list?
I am working on a line of bags for men as well as some casual-looking plimsolls. As with all my products, they will be very much dictated by the fabric I choose.
www.tamarafogle.com +44 (0) 7973 177 035
This interview also appears on West London Living.