Meet Hannah Beth Fincham, The Fashion Designer Who Makes Jackets for Cara, Rita And Co

If she's good enough for Cara...


by Charlie Byrne |
Published on

Two years ago Hannah Beth Fincham was travelling South East Asia, just like any other twentysomething on her gap yah.

Having jacked in her job as a freelance fashion designer she had a pie in the sky idea of starting up her own label. Nowadays you’re more likely to find her sewing two thousand studs into a hero leather jacket for Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding or maybe Cara Delevingne.


Hannah graduated from Loughborough university with a degree in multimedia textiles, thinking that she might want to start her own handbag brand. ‘For my degree show I did leather basques with leather origami, I’d always had a thing for leather, and I was finding it impossible to to find the perfect leather jacket,’ she tells me. Like most uber creatives, she figured she might as well just make her own. ‘Bouddica was the first jacket, it wasn’t planned, I just made it, loved it and wore it everywhere - it got so many compliments that I thought I should ditch the handbag idea and try jackets,’ she explains.

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Hannah’s second jacket design, a black, heavily studded style with disney princesses dancing between the studs was the real turning point for her business. Once Rita Ora’s stylist got hold of it, the press requests started flooding in. ‘When you’re working on your own, just you in your studio, and you see your pieces in magazines that you have read for years, it’s such a great feeling and really keeps you going,’ says Hannah. ‘It’s really exciting to see how other people style your stuff, too.’


Hannah isn’t just doing her own label for the first time from the creative side, she’s also managing the business herself, and is showing a savvy awareness for how to grow a brand these days. ‘Rita was the first celebrity to wear my stuff, not a bad place to start!’ she laughs, ‘but the more celebrities wear your things, the bigger the brand awareness becomes.’

She’s also keenly aware of how important it is to offer a well edited, continually refreshed collection. ‘The whole brand is about owning a piece that no one else has, so for every order I ask the customer if there’s anything they want to change, like the colour of hair on a mermaid, or personalising the embroidery.’


While Hannah’s jackets are the hero pieces of her offering, they remain out of most of our budgets. Probably part of that whole exclusivity vibe she’s going for. But thankfully she also has a cracking collection of sweaters with quirky slogans like ‘Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter’ and clutch bags that we can all get in on - another savvy strategy to grow her business, by my reckoning.

It’s worth mentioning that Hannah is just 28, and is still working from home, having turned the spare room in her East London flat into a studio. ‘It’s an upgrade from the kitchen table I was working on before,’ she quips. Luckily she doesn’t make many items of the same style, so space isn’t too wanting. ‘Everyone wants to look different in fashion, they want to buy things their friends don’t have, and I want to give people the chance to find that here, so I keep the numbers small.’ I don’t blame her for wanting to keep the styles to a minimum when she tells me how long each jacket can take to make - some two or three thousand studs can go into one jacket, which can also involve hand painting and embroidery for weeks.


Despite the easy breezy outsiders’ view of how her business has spiralled, Hannah is realistic about advising other young designers on going it alone. ‘I had tonnes of support from my family and the Princes Trust gave me financial backing and wider support, putting me in touch with other young people doing similar things, but it hasn’t been easy,’ she explains. Sometimes it’s the smallest leg up that can make the difference. ‘My dad helps me out with the packaging, he does all the gift wrapping!’ laughs Hannah, ‘and I run everything past my mum too.’

It will be interesting to see where Hannah takes her label next, and we expect to see her on the London Fashion Week circuit shortly. ‘I’d love to be stocked somewhere like Browns Focus, rather than just selling online,’ she explains. ‘And I’d love to expand the collection to include dresses and more elaborate embroidery too.’ My tip? Get yourself a sweater now, before Hannah hits the big time.

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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