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Aberdeen fashion student launches ‘chonky bag’ business

chonky bag
Millie Flynn set up her business to help fund her studies

Studying fashion and textile design at Aberdeen’s Gray’s School of Art and specialising in knitwear, Millie Flynn set up her own “chonky” bag business to help fund her studies.

“I began creating my bags at the beginning of the year just before my 21st birthday as I realised the materials required in my fourth year will be super expensive,” said Millie.

“I couldn’t afford to move forward in my studies without some extra money to help me along the way.”

Launching her colourful chunky bags in early March, Millie was amazed they sold out in less than an hour.

She said: “It was such an incredible feeling.

“I feel I am someone who is always full of ideas, but I never seem to act on any of them, so I feel a massive sense of accomplishment watching my little business grow and myself with it.”

chonky bag
Millie Flynn set up her business Flynn Designs earlier this year

Predominantly working with neutral colours at university, Millies was excited to brighten things up and focus on colourful hues for her new collection.

She said: “I really wanted to create something bright and fun as I was so used to working with such dull colours at the beginning of my studies and I have recently found such joy working with my current colour palette.

“The three colourways I currently have are broccoli, berry and amber – they are just my favourite colours and that is really all I thought when looking into them.

“As we move forward into summer, I have a lot of ideas for summery colour palettes and some more experimental designs that I can’t wait for my customers to see.”

Millie also offers a “broccoli cocktail” colour scheme – combining green and pink wool. Each design costs £38, with both gold and silver chains available.

Millie currently offers three main funky colour schemes

The young designer created her bags as an accessory she would love to wear herself and is thrilled to see other Aberdeen fashionistas rocking her funky bags, too.

She said: “I wear mine all the time when going out for my daily walk or to the supermarket because there is nowhere else to dress up for now.

“My favourite way to style mine is with some bright colourful jeans and a big, long coat as it gives a lovely pop of colour to my outfit.

“My bags are definitely a statement piece in any outfit – especially my berry bag which is currently my favourite as it’s so lovely and bright and it’s making me think of how incredible summer will be.”

“Broccoli cocktail” colour scheme

Due to current restrictions in place, Millie has been studying and creating her bags from home.

“I first promised I would only take up a small corner with my work but everything has spread across all the floors and walls now and there is no escaping it,” said the designer.

Millie creates all her chonky bags from sustainable merino wool and is proud of her small zero-waste business.

She said: “Sustainability is very important to me – I try to source all my materials in Scotland and if not possible the UK in an attempt to cut my carbon footprint as much as possible.

“I source my wool from a small wool company in England.

“I also produce zero waste in the production of my chonky bags which I pride myself on as product waste in the fashion and textile industry is the primary contributor to enhancing effects of climate change and contributing to the plastic pollution that fills our oceans.

“It is really important to me to constantly try and become more sustainable in my creative practice.”

Millie studies and works from her Aberdeen home

Due to high demand, Millie currently sells her bags through drops on her Instagram page @Flynn_designs, with her new chonky bags available for sale tomorrow (April 2).

She said: “By selling this way, I can create my own collection of bags and have them ready to be sent the day after the drop instead of the stresses of pre-orders.

“My next bag drop will be tomorrow and shortly after, I hope to have my own website up and running to enable easier purchasing for my customers.”

Since she set up Flynn Designs during the pandemic, Millies hasn’t had the chance to attend any north-east fairs and markets but says it’s something she cannot wait to do so when restrictions allow.

She said: “I am so excited about the thought of being able to take part in community markets and fairs once restrictions are lifted.

“Flynn Designs is currently a completely digital-led store and to be out in real life and see what purchasing habits are like will be really interesting.

“I also really enjoy going to these markets as a customer so it will be pretty surreal to have my own little stall.

“I will be intrigued to see who will be interested in my bags when seen by a broader audience.

“My current customers seem to be 18–35-year-old women, so to have this larger consumer audience of different genders and ages will be very interesting.”

Looking forward to the future, Millies said she would love to launch a knitwear collection.

She said: “I am very excited about the future and have tonnes of ideas for the future of my business.

“I wish to move towards creating a knitwear collection for my customers using the same wool I create my bags with but due to time constraints with my big university workload, this is something I would have to consider further in the future when deadlines are not looming over me.”

Visit @Flynn_designs on Instagram for more information and to shop

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.