To celebrate the launch of our new Tessie collection we went into the English countryside to meet international show jumper and namesake Tess Carmichael.
The Tessie collection was inspired by the effortless practicality of our early collections, when each new bag was created with a use in mind. The Tessie collection includes a Satchel, Tote and Hobo, crafted from beautiful Soft Grain Leather and finished with understated Mulberry tree hardware. The design was influenced by early saddle bags and equestrian leather pieces and so Hill Farm, home to Tess and her horses (and dogs, and chickens) felt like the perfect location for a Tessie shoot.
Tess, tell us a little bit more about what you do?
The main focus of my job is my horses! Everything revolves around them. I need them to be at their best to help me do my best. The competing is actually a very small part of what I do. There is a huge amount of preparation and training that goes into the 90 seconds we spend in the ring. This includes making sure the horses are fit, well schooled and ready for what I need them to do. They are all individuals and so are treated individually, their work schedules are tailored to them and the shows that they have coming up. They also have regular visits from the vet, physio and farrier to ensure they are in the best shape they can be to go to the shows. The horses are athletes and are treated as such!
What is life like at Hill Farm? Introduce us to the animals!
I absolutely love life on the farm! It’s a huge change from when I worked in the city but it’s always what I wanted to do and I’m very fortunate. It was always my dream to look outside my bedroom window and see my horses and now I can! I share my house with three dogs, Wilbur and Wesley our two Weimaraners and the latest addition, Wiley the Whippet. They spend most of their day supervising us on the yard unless it’s raining or cold when they can be found in the kitchen by the Aga. We also have ten horses of which six go to the shows and compete. The others are retired or semi retired as I get far too attached to the horses and cannot bear to sell them so most of them are with us for life!
Tell us a little bit about your personal style
So much of my time is spent outside and around the horses so the majority of what I wear is quite practical. I spend at least some part of every day in a pair of breeches which, with the exception of my whites that I wear at competitions, are all dark as horses and light clothes don’t really mix well. My personal style is very neutral. I like classic shapes and I think if you look in my wardrobe 90% of my clothes are navy, various shades of grey, beige, black or white. I seem to have accumulated a lot of handbags over the years. I like classical, good quality leather bags that look better the older they get.
What does a bag need to be to fit in with your lifestyle?
To fit into my lifestyle the bag needs to be big! I don’t do travelling lightly as you never know what you might need. It also needs to be robust as it will get flung around and horses aren’t very respectful of delicate things. I like bags that I can put over my shoulder that leave my hands free so I can still carry and do things. I’m a big fan of the Tessie collection. I think the leather and craftsmanship is exceptional and the styles are practical and timeless. At shows it’s great to hold a beautiful bag that makes you feel a bit special.