House of NEO87100
NEO87100 is a luxury women’s bag brand that combines a feisty British attitude with Italy’s leathercrafting expertise. It is the brainchild of London-based Ilaria Barca, who turned to her uncle’s leathergoods factory to make her dream of creating a modern and alluring handbag collection come true.
The team, a diverse group in terms of age and experience is united by their appreciation of traditional crafts and their desire to create enduring quality designs.
Ilaria Barca, our founder and creative director studied fashion marketing and design at Polimoda in Italy. On moving to London, she honed her skills in luxury retail. Here, she met entrepreneur and CEO Niko Dyer who encouraged her to take what she’d learned and to return to Italy where she pursued her desire to create a luxury leather brand using the family factory. He was also instrumental in elevating the product in terms of branding, quality details, and luxury finish and securing investment through his network, enlisting Lady Jeanne Davies as NEO87100’s chairperson. She brought her expertise and know-how in the luxury world from once having an eponymous fashion label and now owning the Domaine Des Jeanne vineyard and wine business in Luberon, France. Working together the three of them have formed what the brand represents today.
Caring for People and the Planet
Our ethos is as much about supporting people as it is about sustaining the planet. Both matter and are of huge concern.
We actively support the great work done by the London-based charity The Listening Place, which offers face-to-face support to those who feel suicidal. It is the mission of The Listening Place to provide those who feel life is no longer worth living with a safe place to come and talk freely and confidentially to warm, non-judgmental volunteers who are willing to engage with their feeling and support them through their darkest time. It does unbelievable work, and we want to help. On Black Friday 2020, 50 percent of every NEO87100 purchase was donated to the charity.
As for sustainability, we use calf leather, which is a by-product of meat production. We also try to minimise the use of plastic and try to reduce packaging wherever we can, which is why our bags are presented in an organic cotton tote, made close to our factory.
Just as the Latin-inspired name suggests NEO87100 is all about the new, while the number denotes a postal code — the exact location in southern Italy where the bags are made.
Visiting her uncle’s factory was a formative experience for Ilaria the brand’s creative director and was to become the first step in a path that later led her to fashion school in Florence.
“When I visited my uncle as a child, I was fascinated to see how bags and leather goods were made,” she says. “There, in front of my eyes was a large open space where different people were focused on a specific part of the bag making process. Whether it was hand stitching or artisans painting the edges of bags, the experience ignited excitement and a passion for the fashion world in me.”
The idea for NEO87100 came to Ilaria while working in London in luxury retail. Here, she found herself surrounded by bags that were either too tiny or that swamped her small frame. “There was the cute little clutch or the huge office bag, with very little in between.”
Necessity is often the mother of invention and in the case of NEO87100, not being able to find what she was looking for prompted Ilaria to create her own collection of handbags that are versatile, stylish, and beautiful inside and out.
With every stage from cutting the leather, hand painting the edges, allowing the leather to dry, stitching, assembling all the parts to finally embossing the brand with the logo, it takes a whole day to assemble a single NEO87100 creation.
Our Italian Craftsmanship
NEO87100’s small, artisanal leather goods factory in the south of Italy has a history of making bags for some of the world’s most highly sought-after luxury brands. And yet, this region situated in the “toe” of Italy between Mar Ionio on one side and Mar Tirreno on the other, is better known for chili production. Strung up and draped from shop fronts like garlands, here, chili even has its own dedicated festival. NEO87100 is inspired by the vitality of this region. The red of the chili, the sun-drenched colours of buildings, and the vivid cerulean blue of Mediterranean skies and sea are all reflected in the colour palette.