Ever had that wake-up moment when you ask yourself what the hell you’re doing with your life? Mine was in October 2014.
I was a 30-something aching to follow my passions, to uncover new experiences, and meet the creatives who were adding so much colour to the world. Brought up in a family with an international business, I had an appreciation for life, travel and different cultures ingrained in me from a young age – and it was time to break out.
So I left a pretty great career, packed my bags and went in search of adventures.
In that first year I realised a longstanding desire: to create luxury accessories. I debuted with a handmade, leather handbag and accessory range under the banner of Hills & West. And I decided I would share my journey online.
I also started collaborating with some brilliant minds and creative souls. My aim then, and now, is to collect and create little gems that inspire, tempt and encourage other people to take that leap of faith and do what they love. Like other makers have done for me.
Why Hills & West?
My business name is a combination of my nickname (Hills) and the strong influences from my Western European upbringing (West). Plus, I always think two is better than one, and Hills & West had a ring to it.
(PS. If you’re wondering where ‘Aisha’ comes from, Stevie Wonder sings about his daughter Aisha and the meaning of her name – ‘life’ – in his song Isn’t She Lovely. My parents adored Stevie, so I became Aisha and I was always encouraged to embrace everything life had to offer. And sing along to all their Stevie Wonder records. 🙂
I hope you enjoy my stories and the things I create as I indulge my lust for the new and appreciate the art of living.
Handcrafted, locally produced
Hills & West was born out of a desire to make luxe, timeless lifestyle accessories more accessible, while supporting my local community and creating a vehicle for giving.
We have this overarching mission: do what we love, create exceptional pieces and make people happy along the way.
Our core business is in staple collections that cater to busy lifestyles. Our products are the embodiment of four collections, each with a story.
- Morgan – our first collection, an ode to my husband’s surname, comprises of a luxury backpack, clutches, folios and accessories, all to make your everything work attire more stylish.
- Everyday – a collection of timeless transeasonal bags from shoppers to bucket bags to make your everyday easier (and more stylish of course)
- Traveller – as we moved from Sydney to Melbourne for work we started to explore the local areas on weekends, hence the weekender bag and toiletry bag, both making up the Traveller Collection.
- Chevron – as I competed a 4 month residency in Italy to further my skills, I was inspired by the architecture and chevrons that appeared throughout history. This translated into my Chevron Handbag, Crossbody, Clutch and Belt bags. I names the bags Darcy, Parker, Baxter and Lenny, all named after my favourite children’s names as the collection took 9 months to develop and nurture.
- Lunar – a lover of the moon, the Lunar Max, Mini, Half Moor and Crescent Clutch are a reflection of the moon’s shades and changing forms. Versatile, striking and a timeless must for the woman who wants to make a statement.
- Gentleman’s Essentials – as we moved into our fourth year it was time to make a capsule collection for the dapper gents amongst us. A Messenger, Backpack and Duffle complimented with card and passport holders, in premium navy and black leather, crafted for the stylish man.
- Surry – as an ode to our neighbourhood during restricted influenced pandemic times, the Surry Crossbody, Clutch and Mini were born, each to support the different levels of restrictions and to bring joy amongst uncertain times.
No two bags are exactly the same
Instead of offering hundreds of items, we design and develop pieces that are each a little bit unique. Because of the craftsmanship – that premium stamp of handmade, your investment will only get better with age.
Many of our products come in classic ink black, navy, whiskey, grey and cowhide, finished with a range of tasteful hardware features. Our Styled By You service lets you personalise your items.
We carefully engineered the voids, zips, slips, and pockets so you can fit a lot in what looks to be a relatively compact space. This versatility and cohesiveness allows the products to look chic on their own or be collected as a set.
With their formal simplicity and understated accents our pieces are refined, clean, minimalist, simple – what we call ‘modernist-classic’. All designs are made to work well with and transcend every season, occasion and outfit.
We believe in…
- Decluttering, simplifying. Too many people have cupboards full of cheap or broken stuff. That has to stop. Minimalist, versatile and clean are the pillars of the Hills & West brand. It’s about function and form, focusing on practicality and durability to complement your stylish everyday. We’re aiming to provide a cornerstone of your working wardrobe with every piece made to be timeless and adaptable for the modern man and woman.
- Versatility. Our bags and accessories go from morning til midnight, from season to season, complimenting trend on trend. We craft for multiple uses, colour combinations and to dress up or down. We want to encourage creativity and your inner stylist.
- Attainable luxury. Many aspire to luxury, but it’s often out of reach beyond the one-off investment. Our brand of luxury is achieved through smart design and local craftsmanship and we aim to make it bit more attainable through fair pricing. By harnessing the power of online, we can remove the mark-ups so often applied by middlemen, making our bags instantly more accessible.
- Quality and craftsmanship.We take an artisanal approach, using traditional leather techniques originating from Italy and premium quality materials favoured by international luxury brands. (And the people who make my bags have been doing it for 30 years.)
- Australian made. We make by hand locally – we’re totally Australian made
- Giving back. As the Dalai Lama says, “If we are lucky enough to be living a good life then we should recognise that gift and do something for those people who have less”. Each year through fundraising and donating 10% of our profits we hope to help children around the world gain an education and get a little bit closer to their dreams. You can read more about that on my Sustainability page.
I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to follow my dreams and create HILLS & WEST that I want to make sure that I give back and help others follow their dreams too. Each year I am going to donate 10% of my profits to help children around the world gain an education and get that little bit closer to having access to their dreams.
To start, HILLS & WEST will donate to the Rainbow Children’s Home of Nepal – an orphanage that touched my heart on my travels in Nepal, who are doing such amazing acts of kindness, with so little.
The Rainbow Children’s home has been keeping children safe and educated since 2007 and continue to help local communities that have been devastated by natural disasters.
Please read all the wonderful work that Goma and her team are doing www.orphancarenepal.org
It is amazing at how so little can have such a big impact on these children’s lives.