Handbag queen Anya Hindmarch wins business woman of the year

Anya Hindmarch

Brains behind 'I'm not a plastic bag' design dedicates award to fashion industry and women

LAST UPDATED AT 15:30 ON Thu 19 Apr 2012

A WOMAN known in British fashion circles as the 'queen of bagland' has beaten off rivals from finance and gastronomy to win this year's Business Woman of the Year awad.

Anya Hindmarch, a handbag designer who set up her first business aged 19, overcame competition from River Café founder Ruth Rogers and Helena Morrissey, chief executive of Newton Investment Management, to snatch the prestigious gong, which is in its 40th year.

Hindmarch's fashion bags have become a staple on the red carpet, hanging off the arms of Kate Moss and Kate Middleton in recent years. But it was the 43-year-old's innovative 'I'm not a plastic bag' design, printed on everyday cotton bags and sold for just £5 in Sainsbury's when launched in 2007, which the judges singled out for praise. They lauded Hindmarch's "ability to inspire change by making it fashionable".

Receiving the award at a swanky ceremony in Claridges, Mayfair, Hindmarch dedicated the awards to the fashion industry and women. "It's complicated at times bringing up a family and running a business," she told The Daily Telegraph. "But the great thing about having your own company is that you can be reasonably flexible… That's probably why there are so many female entrepreneurs."

Winning 'Business Woman of the Year' is just the latest feather in Hindmarch's cap. She was awarded an MBE for services to British fashion in 2009 and was named a UK trade ambassador in 2011. She is also a Tory donor, friend of Samantha Cameron and known admirer of Margaret Thatcher, who she says was her inspiration for starting her own business.

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