We chatted with Elizabeth O’Connor-Cowley from article:
Describe your brand in a few words
Artsy luxe accessories for discerning individuals
What motivated you to start article?
After 17 years in the
I often receive compliments on my statement jewellery which sometimes I’ve made myself so I decided that this may just be something that I could create on a large scale. As for handbags…I have always admired the impeccable craftsmanship and sophistication of the classic French/Italian luxury brands and possessed an appetite for accessories in general, but I feel that there’s room for improvement regarding practicality and most definitely price point so it made sense that I develop my own accessories brand.
How did you name the company?
Being a visual artist and inspired by contemporary art, I really wanted “art” be incorporated into the name somehow. I love the word article and think it perfectly represents the articles I create. Art is in my DNA and in the name!
Why did you decide to design luxe accessories and bags?
I love to create and I love accessories. I’ve always spent more $ on my accessories than my clothing. Accessories make you feel great regardless of how many gelatos you ate on your last Italian vacanza! “Does my bum look big in this bag?” said no one ever! Accessories are the quintessential fashion icon that resonates great delight within! The fact that I can combine my passion for creating and my love of accessories is the ultimate for me. I am having so much fun, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven!!!
What’s your most popular product?
We are so new that there is no one article that is out-selling another to be honest. The day bags have been a popular choice as they are a generous size and really practical. People are loving all the pockets! We’re all about form + function working in perfect harmony, so an article needs to not only look good, but also function perfectly. The Grande Bucket Bag, Tote Bag and Hobo Bag are all selling well as day bags so far.
The Pochettes are extremely popular as a small bag/pouch to carry the essential items. Customers are appreciating the extra space and the fact that they can mix and match the straps and bag charms to curate their own individual look and suit their outfit/occasion. We are appealing to a really broad age demographic – from 18 year olds to 80 year olds – anyone interested in their fashion – it’s fantastic!
Why do you call your pouches ‘pochettes’?
It’s French for pouch (small bag) and I love everything French!
How did you select your colour palette?
Colour is my absolute obsession. I always chose colours that I love personally. Our Collection Première is a palette of neutrals plus a couple of hues that work with just about anything in one’s wardrobe. Colours like Noir (black), Indigo, Gris (grey), Oyster, Ballet, Prussian Blue and Silver are all easy to coordinate with many outfits – they are what I’d call safe colours so they are proving popular. Future collections will see me explore brighter colour combinations also though – so watch this space!
How did you convince your husband to use a man-bag?
That wasn’t difficult at all. He’s been using one for the past 20 years as I refused to carry his essentials (wallet, glasses, phone, keys etc) in my handbag years ago and he doesn’t like loading up his pockets so he didn’t have a choice. We travel quite often and carrying a bag is just necessary. With men being so much more conscious of their style, man-bags are very popular now a days – they are like heads – everyone has one!
Who or what inspires you?
Colour. Inspiration is around me everywhere. I draw inspiration from 20th Century art + architecture and simplistic geometric shapes such as the circle and square in particular, but found objects in my immediate surroundings also inspire me. With colour being my absolute obsession, I often see
What do you predict for the future of fashion in Australia?
I haven’t really given it much thought to be honest as I’ve had my head down creating article: for the past 18 months.
However my gut is telling me that in order for us to be successful with article: we’re going to have to look to a global market due to our limited population here in Australia. This excites me! With so many people shopping online due to convenience, I believe online shopping is only going to become even more popular here in Australia than it is already.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
With my article: career only just beginning it probably makes more sense to mention some of the highlights during my time with eeni meeni miini moh. I guess being invited to showcase our collections at the prestigious Pitti Immagine Bimbo in Florance, Italy each year (Europe’s leading childrens fashion show) along side Armani, Baby Dior, Burberry, Karl Largerfeld etc was pretty exciting! Also seeing our product on the babies and kids of celebrities such as Kristy Hinze, Naomi Watts, Cate Blanchett, Miranda Kerr, Megan Gale, Dannii Minogue, Chris Hemsworth and Hugh Jackman has always put a smile on my face!
Do you have any plans for the future?
In the immediate future, our plan is to introduce article: to as many people in our target market as we can so that they can discover a unique form of customising pochettes/bags creatively.
We are also currently designing our first collection of artsy contemporary statement jewellery that will be released in the second half of the year.
article:® is a unique, accessible brand creating ‘limited edition’ and ‘signature classic’ capsule collections of artsy luxe accessories for discerning individuals. With form + function harmoniously playing together at the forefront of the creative process, each article:® habitually conforms to aesthetics and functionality.
Drawing inspiration from 20th century art + architecture and honoring the simplistic geometric shapes such as the circle, square and triangle results in contemporary statement articles with a distinct and inimitable aesthetic. Reciting the classic, minimalist undertones of European sophistication, article:® is handcrafted by skilled artisans to allure and stimulate an emotional connection.
With a desire to excite and inspire, article:® encourages the wearer to embrace their imaginative spirit and customize creatively. Representing maximum versatility, various interchangeable / adjustable straps and charms mix + match with pochettes and bags, allowing the user to become involved in the design process by assembling their own combinations to express their individualism and reflect their unique style and occasion.
Hand crafted by a team of artisans using ethically sourced materials, article: personifies quality and longevity for a world that must internalize the cost of disposal. Evoking confidence & intrigue and representing creativity and functionality, article:® is for those who appreciate honest, timeless design, commitment to detail and refuse to compromise on exceptional quality.