In conversation with Astrid, our friend and occasional customer:
What made you want to be a sneaker designer? I studied industrial design in Paris which made me fascinated with both the technical and aesthetic approach to design. The sneaker is the perfect product which allows me to explore and express my combined interest in fashion with the more functional aspect of design. It also helps that I'm a bit infatuated with shoes and have a growing collection of trainers. I love playing with colour and there is hardly a better product accessory than the trainer for this!
Do you have a favourite place to visit in London ? The past year in lockdown has most certainly made me appreciate London’s green spaces. Hampstead Heath gives me the feeling of home, even after 10 years of exploring every track and hidden pathway you can still find yourself disorientated and imagine yourself lost in the woods. To have the luxury of all that open wild space whilst having London on your doorstep is best of both worlds. Next on my list is to swim in the ponds.
What's the best advice you have been ever given? I grew up in Japan, and always in the back of my mind, I can hear the expression, “Ganbatte”. It’s an expression which embodies the Japanese spirit and their view on perseverance and determination. It is used as encouragement to ‘do your best’. I can still hear an echo of this from my stern head teacher!
We focus on traditional handcrafted skills, attention to detail whilst still giving a timeless modern feel. Inspired by functional design and structural shapes, we enjoy working with people that understand skilled craftsmanship.
Our leather is Chrome free and although a more expensive and longer process it is a more sustainable method of producing leather. Veg tan leather is free from harmful chemicals such as Chromium and heavy metals, using mimosa and plant extracts instead, finished with oils and waxes which results in its patina becoming more beautiful as it ages. We work with a traditional Veg tan leather tannery in Italy that have produced this type of leather for over fifty years, it can take up to four/six weeks to produce our leather, but we think it is worth the wait. We use organic cotton fully certified by the European Eco Label for our lining material, safer for the farmers and the environment. Recycled leather is used as a structural support for some of the internal areas of our bags this is made from off cuts of scrap leather, sourced from Portugal where we produce our Accessories. For us it is important that the materials reflect the quality and craftsmanship throughout its process to create a well-made product.
The Black Friday “deals” seem to get longer each year, with Black Friday no longer considered a day of deals, but a week. We consider ourselves to be a sustainable business, and have spent some time to reflect this in the way we make our products and the way we work with suppliers. These strong values are what started the business, based on our own values and experience of working in the industry. We consider Black Friday to be unsustainable for most businesses, even more so this year with the current crisis where a lot of companies are struggling. As a small business we think it is important that we stand by our values and so we hope that you understand our reasons for not joining, “Black Friday.”