Introducing: A Cabinet of Curiosities

I know this isn’t groundbreaking information, but 2020 has been… A YEAR.

I began to think about this collection in 2019, inspired by imagining what it would be like to walk inside the painting (pictured above): "Interior with Flowers and Parrot" by Henri Matisse… surrounded by lush textures with rugs on the floor, crazy wallpaper, pitchers of wildflowers… full of interesting art objects, like skulls, taxidermy butterflies, paintings and treasures from travels abroad.  A true cabinet of curiosities, of artifacts and objets d’art collected from a life lived with imagination, fascination, and wonder.

As 2020 began to unleash itself on us, I, along with the rest of the world, began to face a reckoning: struggling to define what is important, what is the purpose of fashion and business; wrestling with what we should keep and what we must leave in the past in order to build a healthy, vibrant, equitable, sustainable industry that honors and uplifts everyone involved in its creation and consumption. 

With nowhere to go, a frozen supply chain, canceled orders, and the privilege of working for myself from home… I went on a deep, spiraling dive into the craft and technique of hand-painting and constructing handbags, and redefined what space I want to occupy within the fashion industry. What has emerged from this period is a new collection that marks the beginning of a fresh perspective for AHB.

I certainly don’t claim to have the correct answer for everyone, but this is what is true for me, as a designer, as a business, and as a consumer:

Make only a few things, make them the absolute best way you know how, and turn them into art.

Over the coming weeks, I'm delighted to unveil all of the facets of this collection: how I conceptualize a dream or a mood that reflects the type of world I want to live in, and the way I think products can be made and consumed to bring that dream to life.

In the meantime, you can take a peek into our studio and see a handbag being made, and explore some of the evolutions in materials and technique that make each AHB handbag an objet d'art. 

It's an honor and a privilege to do this work, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to connect with you, my fellow co-creators and dreamers, as we make art out of nothing. :) I hope that you stay safe and healthy, and that you find bits of beauty and inspiration and growth in this time that is unlike anything we have ever experienced.

Ann Howell Bullard