This is the latest in our Made in London series of films about London-based makers by filmmaker William Scothern. This month’s video is about leather bag-maker Johnetté Taylor. “Being a creative person, it becomes really difficult to go along with how things are supposed to be,” she says. “You start to realize that: ‘I could be creating something that allows me to make my own money, which allows me to make my own decisions.'”
Inspired by the migrations of her native American and African American ancestors and a school trip to England, France and Spain aged just 16, Johnetté moved to London when she was 20 to learn more about design. “My impression from a young age was if you’re not where you want to be, find the place you’d like to be,” she says. “From the day I landed at Heathrow Airport in 1998, the world opened up for me and I’ve never looked back.” She studied fashion, gaining degrees from the London College of Fashion and the Fashion Institute of Merchandising in Los Angeles, before returning to London for an internship with a bag-maker whose studio was above a leather workshop. “Working with them was amazing,” she says. “I would take down the samples to the guys in the workshop and they would spend an hour with me every day going through some techniques.” She set up her own business in London in 2010 and now makes every piece by hand, one bag at a time.