Sunshine Cunningham personally designs and hand makes all her leather bags and purses from a small and understated atelier in the Old Town of Stockholm. The atelier is located in the oldest horse stables of this 14th century ”town within a town”, and everything about her atelier seems to reflect her design ethos and values as a handbag maker. Surrounded by exposed stonewalls and rough, unpolished wood, she works away in deep concentration, personally handling every detail of her bags’ construction. Design and production consume her, and the result, again and again, is hand-made, luxurious bags with lifelike personality, graceful ease, and a chic elegance that are distinctly her own. Style-conscious men and women around the world treasure her signature style, and her bags are seen regularly on red carpets, in feature films, and on high profile, internationally televised events.
Inspired by natural beauty, subtle elegance, animal life, and the female spirit in its most simple form, Sunshine Cunningham sets about creating. She believes in an honest use of materials and complete transparency. She does not take any short cuts, and nothing is unintentional. She personally chooses every element of her bags’ production, from her local leather producers to the paper and boxes she wraps them in. She and Olina Johannsdottir test each design thoroughly, making adjustments as long as needed until beauty, functionality, quality, and comfort are harmoniously balanced. Occasionally she releases new editions of a popular bag; refining to perfection sometimes takes years.
Her aim is always to make her bags with as few pieces of leather as possible. Ideally, just one. Not because it’s easy or inexpensive, but because it provides a more sophisticated construction. And her signature “Knots and Ties”, so aesthetically pleasing, are anything but coincidence. They reduce the use of distracting metals, prevent wear and tear over time, and provide an original and distinct design detail widely recognized as Sunshine Cunningham’s.
These bags are made to last, year after year. They are not governed by seasons or planned to match ever-changing trends. They are independent pieces, and they’ll bring new life and beauty to you and your wardrobe for a long time to come.
In response to growing demand, a direct order system has been created. Please contact us with your wishes and we will assist you as soon as we can, direct from our atelier in the Old Town of Stockholm.
The SC Story
Sunshine Cunningham began making bags in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1988. At that time, she made bags from rest leathers she bought in large plastic bags. Since she had no tools, she stitched them together by hand.
Curious by nature, she set off to see the world at an early age and ended up spending extended periods of time in Australia, Asia, and Europe. This was the beginning of what was to become a lifelong interest in different cultures, as well as a habit of observing the world around her from many perspectives.
She studied art and fashion at several schools in the United Kingdom between 1997 and 2000, before moving to Sweden in 2000. Having failed to find courses that concentrated specifically on handbag design, she used her resources and contacts to secure a job in the south of Sweden so she could start making high-end leather bags. Not long after that, she was offered the opportunity to design her own collection for the company. The collection was a hit, and the bags were sold to exclusive shops in Stockholm and Gothenburg. The experience she gained, from detailed leatherwork in the factory to the final touches of her own collection, paved the road for what was to come. Sunshine understood the importance of being directly involved with the production process. Today, personally handling every step of bag making is a distinct characteristic of her method.
In 2008, Sunshine accepted an offer to represent a leather bag company in India. She spent several years traveling on their behalf, designing their collections, working in their local factory, and learning all about growing a quality business through determination and hard work. It was also about this time she took a decision to shift her focus to the development of her private collection. She had years of industry experience, several of her own successful collections, and a variety of design collaborations under her belt. It was a natural step.
Sunshine has been designing and hand-making her own bags and purses from a small factory in the Old Town of Stockholm since then. She now works with Olina Johannsdottir and a growing team of key international marketing and business advisors, but her fundamental process remains unchanged. She is still directly involved with her bags every step of the way, from original inspiration and design, to hand making and personally testing them, through to the final touches. The production process can be swift or take a long time. Rushing, however, is out of the question. Meeting the strict quality and design standards she believes in takes top priority at all times. Instead of focusing on seasonal launches, she waits till the bags are “Approved”; a title she first gives them when she’s confident they are ready for release. Once they find their owner, their adventure begins. And if she’s lucky, she might see them again one day; in a photograph or hanging on the arm of a long lost acquaintance.
“As the years pass, I find myself unable to divorce myself from making bags most of the time. I think of them even when I’m not making them.”
Sunshine Cunningham leather bags are made with the finest quality of Swedish leathers. All colored leathers are achieved with vegetable dye to ensure allergy-free use.