Week four, and we’re half way through the experiment. Already the bags are finding their place in the world; there seem to be a couple of channels that the bags are pulled towards. This week the bags find themselves in the hands of new wave of people, all women this time. Entirely by chance, two of them happen to be make-up artists.

CAMILLA MCDONALD has received the Split Wedge. She has been the Design Coordinator over at Alfred Dunhill for the last couple of years, taking it from strength to strength. Dunhill, as many of you will know, is one of the UK’s best leather goods companies. It’s good to see one of my handbags making it’s way back to them; a few months ago I approached Tomasz Nosarzewski, their lead craftsman for some advice on a particular leather technique, which he was very happy to discuss. I’ll be interested to see what he makes of my latest work.

LINDA ANDERSSON has taken the Flat Iron from Emma, her fellow country-woman. It turns out theres there’s quite a power-pack of Swedes involved in fashion in the capital. Linda is a make-up artist who’s work has been featured in everything from Vice to Harrods. I don’t know enough about make-up to do her work justice, perhaps not surprisingly, so I recommend you take a look at it here..

ZOE LAZARUS The Kettle Bell seems to have developed a sisterly theme; after the Cartner-Morley sibling passover, it has been handed to Zoe Lazarus, the current participant’s sister-in-law. Zoe is a cultural anthropologist at LoweCounsel, who specialise in catching trends before they even know they’re happening. #medievalchic

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Once again, huge thanks for those involved in the 4.4.8. It’s amazing to see these bags pass through so many exciting hands. We were just featured in today’s TownDaily as it happens; for those interested the link is

Watch this space for the midweek update….
Thanks again,





Jakob Ashton with the 4.4.8 Split Wedge

I just received this from Aimee Nisbet:


Love the bag.

In under 24 hours of having it, I was already being photographed by a stranger (as I had breakfast in a cafe on Portobello Road this morning) because she loved the bag. She was a Dutch handbag designer and came over and took a photo of me with it. She loved the bag and asked for your name….


And this from Emma Hammar:

The bag is wonderful and I am really starting to worry about having to hand it on…..Since Julia handed me the bag its been with me walking in Hampstead Heath, dancing at Koko in Camden for one-off night Kinky Galinky, been to Magnum photographer’s Stuart Franklin’s private view, and to Pick Me Up at Somerset House. It’s been equally suitable for all of the above. I’m quoting one of the fashion editors here at Town “it’s lifted every single one of your outfits”, it will indeed be very difficult to part from the flat iron…





Week three, and we’ve already jumped the gender gap. The Split Wedge has now been passed on to the first man involved in the 4.4.8, and I’m confident he will represent us well. Whilst I’ve always imagined these bags would be owned by women, theres no reason why a man cant stake a claim and make one his own. This is exactly the reason I set this Experiment rolling; to see the twists and turns my bags make when they’re left to follow the paths of other people’s excitement.

EMMA HAMMAR is taking on the Flat Iron. Emma works at the point where pictures and publishing meet. She works for Brave New World, a publishing house based in a townhouse in Soho, who specialise in closely curated collections of local knowledge. Emma is currently (among other things) the Picture Editor at Town Daily, which pulls together the very best of what London has to offer, and none of the nonsense.

AIMEE NESBIT has just received the Kettle Bell from Alice C-M. Aimee is the Head of Legal at Herst Magazines, looking after everything from intellectual property to contract law. Alice described her as a “properly stylish woman- she doesn’t just follow or execute, trends – but she has that elusive thing, her own style”.

JAKOB ASHTON is the first man to be involved in the 4.4.8. He is just about to make the move to Dover Street Market to work on their PR/Comms. He’s spent the last year or so at Karla Otto, working on the Celine and Simone Roche accounts. I have a feeling he’s one to watch.

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These four now have charge of the Core Collection and will hand over to whomever they decide next Friday. I’ve started updating the blog with a Midweek Report; including the occasional anecdote, feedback from the participants and a few snapshots of the bags in use. Please browse below, and come back again during the week.

As ever, huge thanks to those involved.




I’ve just heard that the Split Wedge is being lined up to jump the gender divide… Watch this space for Friday’s announcement.

I just received this in an email from Alice Cartner-Morley; her responses on a week with the Kettle Bell:

I like it’s versatility – it felt casual enough for yesterday when I was just hanging out in dalston meeting a friend for coffee and running errands but also smart enough to take to work today and out for dinner tonight. It feels really classy and understated – just beautifully designedly and obviously high quality.

I love the clasp – totally genius – style and function. The size is my ideal size and the strap is a great length (and together these are why it is so versatile and works day-to-night).




It’s been a really strong start to the experiment so far, with some serious journeys for the handbags themselves. The Split Wedge accompanied Camilla on her trip to Switzerland working on the Armani launch. Jo Ratcliffe has been in the studio working hard on some recent commissions, with the Flat Iron by her side. A trip to Costa Rica was on the cards for the Ink Well, whilst Jess C-M took the Kettle Bell with her on her Easter break. They have all made their way back to London over the last few days, and are being passed over to the Second Wave tonight.

Julia is taking control of the Flat Iron. She is a womanswear designer, originally from Germany, who is best known for her use of supercharged pleats. She has worked with Pauric Sweeney and Marques’Almeida in London and Zac Posen and Marc Jacobs in NYC. Most of her time recently is spent working with Sarafina Sama to develop the Isa Arfen label.

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Alice is taking the Kettle Bell from her sister mainly because (so I’m told) she was the very first to admire it. Alice has the rather excellent title of “Head of Insight” at Freud Communications.

Our Anonymous participant has nominated Raquel to take over the Ink Well. Raquel is the Acting Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar. She has been contributing to The Gentlewoman since day one.
Her company Body Editions was set up to redefine the body-suit as a core item in a women’s wardrobe.


These four will have control of their respective handbag for the next seven days, and then decide who they should be handed to next. As ever, a huge thanks to those involved.




It seems the handbags are an adventurous bunch. I’ve just heard one has headed to the Norfolk coast, one is in Switzerland for an Armani launch, and one is sunning itself on the beaches of Costa Rica.

I hadn’t been jealous of a handbag untill now.




Jess Cartner-Morley sent me this email after her week with the Kettle Bell, which she is more than happy for me to post here.

My thoughts on my week with the bag if you want them:

Bags are my thing. I love fashion, I love clothes, but I love bags most of all. I have some seriously nice bags. I was happy to try this bag out for a week, but to be honest it never occurred to me I would fall in love with it. But that’s what happened.
Things I love about this bag, in no particular order:
1. The softness of the leather, and the way the grain catches the light.
2. The weighting of the shoulder strap, which never slips off, and doesn’t force you to hunch your shoulder to keep the bag on (an all-too-common pet hate).
3. The bag is firmly structured at the back, so you’re never scrabbling around the bottom looking for lipbalm, but has soft pleats at the front, which make it look less formal.
4. The size works for day and for dinner out.
A lot of people admired this bag. Bill Amberg, no less, when we had lunch last week, gave it an appreciative stroke. But the only person I could face giving it up for was my sister Alice, who was the very first person to admire it.





I’m very happy to announce the first wave of the 4.4.8 Experiment. Having invited these four people, here ends any influence i’ll have over the experiment: for the next 8 weeks, its entirely up the the participants.

These first four are some pretty serious players , and I really appreciate them taking the time to set the ball rolling.

CAMILLA JOHNSON-HILL is taking charge of the Split Wedge. Camilla is one of the most respected fashion film/still producers around. She set up ‘The Production Club’ as a place to bring the top photographers, art directors and stylists together. She cut her teeth at Vogue and is now European Editor of Interview Magazine.

JO RATCLIFFE is putting the Flat Iron through its paces. Jo is an is an illustrator and an animator. There are not many people who can say they’ve sent pen-and-ink snakes down Kate Moss’ top, but here is one. She’s produced artwork for everyone from Louis Vuitton to (most excitingly) Sunn O))). She is currently featured in Gentlewoman Magazine.

JESS CARTNER-MORLEY has been entrusted with the Kettle Bell. She (as many of you will know) is The Guardian’s fashion editor. She joined the paper as a researcher some 14 years ago, working her way to the top. It’s fair to say she has set the tone of fashion journalism in the UK for well over a decade.

ANONYMOUS : The Ink Well is with someone who already works with quite a prominent designer, and who doesn’t want to muddy the waters. They have asked that I keep their identity under wraps.

At the end of each week, the bags will be passed on to another four people, for the next eight weeks. I hope you will join us in following their journey…

This afternoon i will announce the First Wave of test pilots; watch this space…