Amanda Spackman, ELLE
Leather goods label Plus Equals (that’s +=) are the newest handbag brand on the block. ELLE caught up with them to get behind the newest must-have name.
How did you label, Plus Equals come to life?
Michelle and I met working together in commercial design. We had both arrived at the same point in our lives, over the endless seasons and trends of chasing the next ‘big idea’. We naturally started to simplify our own lives, buying fewer but better items that would grow with us and stand the test of time, but we couldn’t find good quality accessories with refined yet understated aesthetic.
Knowing that we wanted to work with traditional artisans to develop an authentic product, we found ourselves in Italy armed with what would be our debut collection of designs. After a very long search and a few false starts, we finally met a third generation family of leather artisans and we developed our first collection with them.
How to your source your fabrications?
I knew I wanted to work with traditional vegetable tanned leather, its warm, honest and personal. We immersed ourselves in Tuscany, the home of vegetable tanned leather. Vegetable tanning is the traditional process of treating hide with tannins derived from barks, meaning that no harsh chemicals or synthetics are used in the production of our leather. Due to its natural raw state, the leather develops a beautiful patina with use, darkening in the sun and building up a surface that evolves and changes over time.
Inside your wardrobe we’d expect to find…
An edit of quality essentials that are easy to wear, I like my style to be effortless. The palette is mostly white, black, navy and grey but I am partial to a bit of mustard or khaki. I favour texture over print and pattern and love crisp white cotton, slubby linen, silk, grey marl cashmere, raw indigo denim and vegetable tanned leathers.
The colour you’re obsessed with right now is…
Green from nature. Foliage is an endlessly inspiring obsession; I can’t get enough tropical plants and have surrounded myself with ferns, fiddle leaf figs and palms.
Clutch or carryall?
Carryall for day, clutch by night.
Oxfords or brogues?
Both are classics and have their place, so it depends on the day and mood.
What’s your pet peeve?
Your favourite place to travel in the world is:
Italy for both work and pleasure, or both in my case. I always leave feeling refreshed and full of inspiration. The food, architecture, landscapes, seaside and of course the style, warmth and hospitality of the people. Our last holiday was on Ischia in Italy, a volcanic island next to Capri but much more low-key and discreet. We had a little villa surrounded by Mediterranean gardens on the water overlooking the Aragonese Castle. We swam in the salty sea, cooked pasta with fresh ingredients from the garden and drank too much coffee and Campari spritz on the terrace. Bliss.
The app you can’t live without:
Airbnb, to plan the next trip.
The song that best describes you is:
Jimi Hendrix – Up from the skies.
A Plus Equals bag works best with…
An individual’s style, not a particular trend driven look. We think of our bags as companions that travel with and become a part of you. A += person appreciates craftsmanship, quality and design. We’re really inspired by street style and love seeing how += bags are worn while people are just going about living.