WHO: Hayden Lasher, fashion designer and entrepreneur
FAMILY TIES: Great-grandniece of iconic fashion designer Henri Bendel
BELGIAN BAGS COLLECTION: A New York-based brand of handbags designed in collaboration with Belgian Shoes, featuring the same structured silhouette, fine Italian leather, and signature bow detailing
NI: Did you always want to go into fashion?
Lasher: Yes. My family has deep roots in fashion, and the landscape of our conversations tends to revolve around art, history, and style, so it’s always been a big interest of mine. The idea for the handbags had been in my brain for years. I spent around five years gathering experience. I studied in New York and Paris, and got some professional experience at Michael Kors, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Oscar de la Renta before starting my own line in 2014.
How did Henri Bendel inspire you?
His designs transcend time. Looking back at some of his designs now, you see how they’re still relevant today. That’s what I was trying to do with the Belgian Bag—create something that’s classic. It’s not a trend or an overnight sensation but something you can carry for the rest of your life that will always be fashionable and stylish.
What sets your brand apart?
The bags are handmade in New York, and the quality of the materials we choose are really important. Also, some of our colors are limited-edition, so we only make a certain number of them. I like the idea that the women carrying them can feel the handbags are special and not something many people have.
I’m happy to support an organization that helps prevent and protect women from domestic violence in whatever way I can. I’m donating one of our Belgian Bags, a really beautiful one I figured was best suited for Florida. It’s made of vanilla pebbled leather with pink lambskin piping and has a hot pink suede interior. It goes perfectly with tropical colors.