angel jackson snakeskin mother-of-pearl sequin bag

Angel Jackson's mother-of-pearl sequin bag from Spring/Summer 2010. Photo courtesy of Angel Jackson

Sisters Katie and Millie Smith have been on the radar of in-the-know editors and fashionistas since the launch of their handbag line, Angel Jackson, in 2005.

Celebrities including Hayden Panettiere, Rihanna, Rachel Bilson and Gwen Stefani have requested handbags from the brand. And, stateside, boutiques such as Intermix are now carrying the collection.

But after the announcement of Angel Jackson's nomination for the first ever British Fashion Council (BFC)/Vogue Fashion Fund, this U.K.-based accessories company is on course to blow up.

The fund
will provide one British designer with £200,000 along with high level business mentoring; finalists will be announced in April.

StyleList was excited to catch up with Katie Smith to find out what the honor means to her and Millie, the direction for Angel Jackson's Fall 2010 collection and how she likes working with her sister.

StyleList: How do you and Millie feel about being nominated?
Katie Smith: We're both over the moon. It's great that the BFC and Vogue are really getting behind British fashion and giving designers like us a chance to push our businesses forward to the next level. It was a huge privilege to present our collection to the judges. Although initially terrifying, being short listed amongst such high-profile fashion designers as Christopher Kane and Erdem proves that accessories are being taken seriously in this industry.

Angel Jackson Butterfly Sequin Hobo feather

Angel Jackson's Butterfly Sequin Hobo (left); feather "Lianto" bag (right). Photos courtesy of Angel Jackson

SL: How does Angel Jackson live up to its pledge of being an "ethically sourced" brand?
KS: We started our own fair trade factory in Bali with our first collection to ensure the best possible working conditions for our wonderful craftspeople. The snake and fish skins we use are a by-product from the Asian food industry. Additionally, we are in the process of buying organic leather to be used for the linings of our bags.

SL: What can we expect from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?
KS: The season is named 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' and is inspired by the 1993 Quentin Tarantino film "True Romance" and the sinister, but likable Alice, as she entered wonderland.

There is a feather "Lianto" snakeskin work bag [above right] and a die-cut goat leather gladiator tote bag that are wearable yet edgy and cool. For a night out, a hand embellished mother-of-pearl sequin satchel with black snakeskin frill is going to be a true showstopper. Overall, the collection is a translation of the ultimate pleasure-seeking, party lifestyle.

What is Angel Jackson giving handbag lovers come Fall/Winter 2010?
KS: We have drawn inspiration from '90s sportswear -- think snakeskin gym bags in eye-popping shades and sequin embellished duffel bags. It's an exciting collection.

SL: What will you do if you win the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund?
KS: Winning would roller coaster our brand into new markets such as Japan and America. With the help of the funding, we'd be able to advertise and secure prestigious showroom space to launch Angel Jackson globally. The mentoring that we would receive could help implement new marketing and sales strategies in order to achieve this goal.

SL: What is it like working with your sister?
KS: It's amazing working together because we share the same vision and ridiculous sense of humor! We come up with ideas together and work closely on the branding and direction of the label. I'm the Creative Director and design all the collections along with managing the brand image. Millie is responsible for the marketing, sales and production. But, ultimately, we work as a team in all aspects of the company.

Now see what another fashionable sister act is doing for Fall 2010.