THE founder of a fashion start-up business has won a top award in New York.

Jennifer Hamley of Jennifer Hamley England was successful at the Independent Handbag Designer Awards.

Her design picked up the Best in Category award, decided by a panel of judges from a group of five finalists.

Her work was entered in the Pure and Natural Yoga Bag category.

Jennifer said: “It’s amazing to think that my design has attracted so much attention.

“I’m passionate about stylish practicality and for me this bag totally sums that up.”

Jennifer moved to Brighton in February, helping out residents by house and pet-sitting to save money to put into the upcoming brand.

She said: “I want to find the right area in which to settle so house sitting with Brighton business TrustedHousesitters means I can try different areas of Brighton and Hove and help out pet owners whilst saving money – it’s a win/win as I love it here’.

She has been accepted on to the Brighton Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator programme.

This specialises in coaching and office space for entrepreneurs.

The programme encourages business owners along a path that can otherwise be extremely challenging and daunting; helping them to grow and create local jobs.

She said: “Brighton has such an amazing energy and entrepreneurial spirit.

“I’ve met so many dynamic business women here already; they are my ultimate inspiration.”

The 12th annual awards were held at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan, attracting more than 400 members from the international fashion community.

Jennifer’s bag design is being developed alongside the team at TAJA coconut water as part of its brand launch.

The bag features ingenious compartments and padded pockets as well as straps to carry a yoga mat and a bottle pocket.

Jennifer said: “The bag is created in soft and durable vegan cork leather, which is naturally water resistant with antibacterial properties.

“The triangular bucket bag design is inspired by the shape and volume of a young coconut.

“It is complimented by my signature bag interiors, which keep you organised so that you can keep a clear mind.”

Jennifer hit the ground running in Brighton and has made connections through networking and business meet-ups groups.