Designer Profile: Sue Ryburn (After Story)

After Story

Sue Ryburn, designer and owner of After Story

An open mind and lifelong curiosity around the functionality of design have been an important part of Sue Ryburn’s journey and the creation of the After Story brand.

Having designed and launched the capsule collection of premium vegan leather convertible bags earlier this year, each of the three meticulously thought-out pieces is inspired by the demands of her own lifestyle.

After Story vegan bags are designed for maximum comfort and versatility, and all three interconnect through clever design and can be used as a trio or individually.

The idea for After Story was sparked during Sue’s ‘whirlwind of exploration’ around the world.

“It was back in the good days when we could travel freely and I got an ‘Around The World Ticket’ for $2000, which allowed me to travel around four continents over six months,” she says.

“It was an amazing time of seeing new things and fresh experiences, and on every part of this journey, I was accompanied by some kind of bag for my travels.”

While Sue embraced exploring the world, her travels also saw her accumulate ‘a graveyard of travel bags and handbags’.

“It did start me thinking about a quality bag that would handle the rigours of travel but also be good-looking. Being sustainable and working with vegan leather was also important to me.”

After Story

While on maternity leave with their daughter and with the encouragement of her husband, Sue began sketching and designing, constantly refining and tweaking before being fully satisfied and confident in her designs.

As a new mum, it was important that the bag designs were not just stylish but that they also performed and functioned across a variety of needs.

The resulting Florence Bag, the largest of the trio, operates as a weekender travel bag, a baby bag, or a convertible backpack for work or studying. Packed with multi-pockets (including two bottle pockets), as well as comfy adjustable compression straps, it’s an organiser’s dream and can be expanded for additional carry-on while travelling.

The After Story collection also includes the London bag: a hybrid laptop/crossbody bag that can be worn full-size or folded over, with a convenient external magnetic open pocket.

The Vallarta bag is a sleek companion for mums looking for a bag that is equipped to take a lunchbox and bottles (with a water-resistant lining) but also doubles as a work bag.

After Story

“A woman’s bag contains crucial parts of her life. We set out to design bags that suit a variety of lifestyles and solve storage problems while remaining environmentally ethical.”

The After Story name reflects the label’s aim to transition mums through all lifestyle requirements, from baby bag to office bag to travel bag (with one clever design meeting all of these needs).

“Our take on sustainable fashion is based on the idea of less waste through designing functional and stylish bags that are convertible,” says Sue.

“All of our handbags are made out of vegan leather, with a water-resistant lining and YKK zippers for quality. To back up our belief in our workmanship and quality materials, we offer a lifetime guarantee.

“We choose to work with premium vegan leather, not only because it is animal-friendly but also because it is light, durable, and water-resistant.”

Sue’s early days of design and creativity were honed by learning from her mother, using scraps of fabrics and progressing to making her own clothes. Scrap materials were also the starting point for Sue’s After Story bag designs and she spent hours redesigning and finessing the details.

“I was really focused on the functionality and making sure the bags performed as they were designed to do. The trio are called the Together Collection because they all connect together seamlessly, performing as a modular system where you can interchange the pockets to suit the demands of your own individual lifestyle and story.”

The After Story collection is available online now.

After Story

After Story

Images supplied