Alison Lloyd was born in Surrey in 1956. She spent her childhood in Dublin and Yorkshire and in her teens, started remixing old Vogue patterns and sewing her own clothes. By 1975, she had completed an arts foundation course and enrolled at Middlesex University to study fashion and textiles. The Ally Capellino label of accessories was launched by Ally and then-partner, Jono Platt in 1980. To commemorate the controversy surrounding the Moscow Olympics, they launched into womenswear with a five-piece collection. Throughout the 1980s, the Ally Capellino, Hearts of Oak and ao diffusion lines established a reputation for deceptively simple, modern yet timeless clothes for men, women and children. A pioneering partnership with Coats Viyella established groundbreaking design consultancy and licensing agreements. Ally Capellino was among the first generation of British talent to achieve success in Japan.
By 2000, Ally restructured what was now her solo label and took it back to its accessory roots. A collaboration with Tate Galleries has proved enduring as has an exclusive pioneering range with Apple Europe. 2010 marked 30 years in business with a major exhibition at the Wapping Project, featuring a huge wall of bags, the first for a British accessories brand. Ally's love for cycling has inspired a new Bags for Bikes range for 2012. There are now two small Ally Capellino stores on opposite sides of London, in the East End’s Calvert Avenue and Portobello Road in the West. Both interiors feature reclaimed materials by Rupert Blanchard. Other long term collaborators include photographer and film-maker, Donald Christie, artists and models Jane Howard, Guy Gormley and Hamish and Agnes Lloyd-Platt, Ally’s kids who are now in their 20s.
Getting Ally to talk about a career in fashion is a useless exercise. Far from self-promoting, she is delighted when people say they love her bags because they last for years and carry minimal or indeed no logos. You are much more likely to get Ally talking about education and the importance thereof and about making fashion more fair. She can tell you the provenance of every bag, whether produced in London or by African communities in Kenya. No corners are cut, not least when it comes to human rights.