Fiona Kempton, designer and owner of Kempton & Co., was born in 1977 and raised in a house by the sea in the countryside of southwest England, setting the stage for a unique childhood and a lifetime connected to the ocean–and horse riding.
Fiona’s parents owned a scuba diving business, where she’d often catch her father stitching wetsuits and canvas fly fishing bags–inspiring her to sew her own creations. As a schoolgirl, she started a business of hand-sewn makeup bags, made of fabric remnants and zippers from vintage clothes.
Her father, John Kempton, was an eminent racehorse trainer and jockey, winner of England’s famous Grand National in 1967. Growing up around the distressed leather of her old riding boots and the heavy waxed canvas of the horses’ rain rugs, leather straps and buckles inspired Fiona’s lifelong love for equestrian design and culture, as well as active life on the water.
Fiona studied fashion design in London’s Kingston University and moved to New York after graduation, spending the next ten years designing for major fashion companies. In 2009, she started to design on her own, creating a tech-friendly bag with a built-in protective sleeve for a laptop. Well-received, she launched her own business. Kempton & Co. was born in Brooklyn in 2010.
Fiona’s heritage is a main inspiration. She designs bags with gorgeous soft leathers and textiles, combining the utility of equestrian hardware. She prides herself in always maintaining an artistic approach to function; it is a philosophy that the company strives to maintain with every bag.
Fiona lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter. An avid kiteboarder, surfer and sailor she spends each summer weekend afloat her sailboat in the Hamptons, which naturally led to the creation of her urban beach bag collection.