THE DESIGNER, Shaneen Huxham
What gives a distinct sensibility and a recognizable handwriting to Shaneen Huxham’s designs? ‘Apart from modernizing the styling and use of the colours of leather or cashmere yarn in a striking way with my designs, I also strive to support the Italian artisans with their centuries old craftsmanship and therefor combine my design sensibility with their expertise in executing the final product’.
Humor is always present in the creative process and reflected in most aspects of Shaneen Huxham’s designs.
Shaneen Huxham has over the duration of the brand name been acknowledged and looked upon as a leader in the quality Fashion Accessories industry and her designs continuously remind clients and stores of value and durability which other brand names strive to have yet few can achieve due to having to compromise their prices.
Shaneen Huxham designs include:
- Gloves for women, men, evening, bridal, novelty, custom made.
- Scarves and shawls, pull on Caps.
- Light Luggage or Equestrian bags.
- Hair accessories.
What challenges Shaneen as a designer when it comes to the Gloves in particular, is developing new styles ~ which have to have 5 fingers and ‘fit like a glove’. There is no scope for dimensionality with a glove! I try to bring a contemporary approach to the ageless craft of sewing a fine leather glove and to make it aesthetically pleasing while maintaining comfort and practicality.
Certain styles of Gloves are made in Portugal or Hungary because of types of leather that are more indigenous to those countries for instance the sought after Peccary skins for Men’s gloves.
The Scarves and caps are of luxurious 100% Cashmere knit with yarns spun, dyed and processed in the Biella region in northern Italy.
With the light Luggage or Equestrian bags, the inspiration and mood is for structured yet ergonomic vintage looking leather and canvas with whimsical detailing. The proportion and line are important but not without a sense of wit and a reference to traditional vintage shapes that were used for traveling.
For these bags, generous amounts of French calf leather is used to stabilize the bottoms and sides of the bags, I do not use plastic or fillers to provide the necessary thickness for upright stability for the bags. Precision saddle stitching enhances the design and insures the strength of the seams.
Hair accessories are made in New York and range from Ostrich skin head bands lined with suede to lizard skin Barrettes, ponytail elastics with whimsical charms attached.
DESIGN HISTORY of Shaneen Huxham
Shaneen Huxham has worked with fabric, colour, texture and prints, leather, trimming and patterns since she was 15. I am focused on and dedicated to good design and colour, be it with fashion accessories, clothing, furniture, objets d’art or silly trinkets!
The brand name was established as an S-Corporation in New York in 1991 after having moved from South Africa where Shaneen worked as a made-to-measure clothing designer with her then boyfriend in her mid twenties. Having worked as a fashion editor, fashion stylist and make-up artist in Johannesburg, I have always been a collector of exquisite or unusual vintage clothing, handbags, shoes, gloves and jewelry, objets d’art and trinkets. I am influenced by the designs and craftsmanship of vintage treasures I have found at antique markets in London, Paris and South Africa and often strive to combine that feeling of nostalgia and include the most interesting elements but with a current edge in some of these categories I have manufactured.
I experiment with traditional construction techniques, combining this with a knowledge of tailoring and dress-making to create a modern sensibility by using technically advanced fabrics and unusual colour combinations with some of my designs. My designs are a marriage of expertise and originality.
The first collection of Fashion Accessories designed in New York in 1990 were typical of the 90’s. Shaneen added embellished cuffs of intricately beaded braids, hand interlaced silk ribbon cuffs, hand embroidery and unusual vintage finds which achieved a whimsical touch. The striking juxtaposition of detailed features or unusual trimmings created a classical yet forward and fun look with the Italian made leather gloves and the first store to order was Bergdorf Goodman in New York.
This distinctive touch was then extended to Hats and later to Handbags and cosmetic bags. After designing handbags for 7 years, Shaneen found the market too saturated with mass produced handbags from China and she preferred to design good quality gloves and Italian spun cashmere knit scarves only because these are niche products in today’s market of an abundance of fashion accessories mass produced in China or India.