Meet the Designer Behind Your New Favorite Handbags

Oct 9, 2017

Meet the Designer Behind Your New Favorite Handbags

Don’t let the name fool you: Little Liffner is kind of a big deal. Since launching in 2012, they’ve quickly become an ‘it’ handbag label to watch. The brand was founded in 2012 by Paulina Liffner von Sydow, whose previous experience in fashion PR and editorial—married with innovative Swedish design and traditional Italian craftsmanship—proved to be a winning formula for success. Here, Paulina shares the story of how she's making a name for herself in the industry, the best thing about being based in Stockholm and why designer labels don't equal style.

Your brand is global, but you’re studio is in Stockholm. What’s your favorite thing about being based in Sweden?
Stockholm is clean, beautiful and mostly filled with educated, creative and generally well-rounded people. The more I travel, the more I appreciate the almost obsession with efficiency that is part of Swedish culture. Everything just works. On a more fun note, the quality of food, fashion and design is excellent and all of it is accessible within a 10-minute bike ride.

How did your background in fashion PR and editorial help you launch your own brand? And what made you want to do accessories?
I was working closely with many fashion brands for a long time, which gave me the luxurious opportunity to learn a lot from both their successes and mistakes. But being a consultant means you are always working with concepts and ideas for others, and I longed to work with an actual product and try my own wings. Accessories came naturally just because it’s something I love.

What is your design process like? Where do you begin in terms of developing ideas, getting pen on paper, etc.?
I start by pulling together massive amounts of references—everything from street style photos, artworks, old magazine clippings to new things I find on Instagram that inspire me. After putting the inspiration aside for a while, I sketch by hand. My materials also inspire me a lot; I make little still lifes of leathers and hardware to find the perfect material mix for a collection.

What are some of your signature materials or silhouettes that you gravitate towards for your handbag designs?
I work with a variety of Italian calf leathers and suedes, though I think my embossed black croc has become a bit of a signature. I’m generally drawn to materials that feel nice to the touch and tend to favor either timeless neutrals or strong pop colors.

You describe your bags as ‘versatile with a blank canvas quality’ and deliberately choose to not show off labels or logos. Can you tell us why this is an important aspect of your designs?
I want the woman who wears my bag to be able to project herself onto the bag rather than the other way around. And I think she's confident enough not having to show of a label to prove she has style. Versatility is also key: my bags need to work in many different contexts as the Little Liffner woman lives a varied, busy life.

What does it mean for your pieces to be carried at INTERMIX? Do you have a favorite item from our selection? INTERMIX has a great mix of brands and beautiful stores in perfect locations which means Little Liffner will be more accessible for women in those areas. The Tiny Box is my go to evening bag. I love to carry as little as possible when out and about and it fits only the necessities.

Is there a signature piece that is quintessentially “Little Liffner”?
It varies a lot depending on the market. In Scandinavia, I would say that the bigger functional bags are definitely my signatures whereas in the U.S., girls seem to love the smaller, structured bags. 

How would you describe your muse?
She's someone who is going places and doing things. She is a ‘want it all’ kind of girl who loves to go out, travel, have a beautiful home and great shoes so it doesn't make sense for her to spend a month’s salary on a handbag. I’m inspired by confident women who don’t settle. 

Click here to shop all Little Liffner, and browse all our latest must-have designers here.

Main image: Courtesy of Little Liffner; Body images: (2) Courtesy of Little Liffner, (3) Instagram/@intermixonline