Who: Fiona Bennett – Hat Designer Where: Berlin What a…
What: Stiebich & Rieth, Taschen-Label
When Julia Rieth and Detlfef Stiebich first met in Hamburg, they both worked as designers for the brand Joop, before they started to work for other labels. There, products were created on the computer, which started to bother both of them after a certain time and so they founded their own label to work on the product directly. Since 2012, handbags under the name Stiebich & Rieth are being made in traditional handicraft – made in Germany. The design duo recently got awarded the “Young Designers Award” for their craftsmanship.
MyStylery: Lots of the coveted designer bags come from France and Italy. Your handbags are handcrafted in Germany. Do these facts build a persuasive argument to spread your luxury segment internationally?
Detlef Stiebich: “Made in Germany” yes, but ‘handmade’ wasn’t easy in the beginning, because the purchasers got the illusion of something like arts and crafts. There was a big need of information. The breakthrough came at the Paris fashion week, where the German fashion label ODEEH offered to show our bags.
MS: You renounce computer drafts and sketches. Your handbags are being made on the table, directly out of the material and out of your inspirations.
DS: That’s right. And before the production starts, Julia is wearing each prototype so that we can find out what we can still improve. That’s how we also design the details of our bags, as well asthe colouring, the closing mechanisms and the internal divisions. And if Julia says that nobody would wear that, one has to think from the beginning again.
MS: That sounds time-consuming.
DS: Absolutely (laughs). I also underestimated this in the beginning. For example in the beginning we always had problems with the knotting of the yarn at the end of the seam. So I went to Paris to Hermès to get a demo how to do it right. It takes weeks to finish a handbag. It already starts with the material: we process vegetable-tanned, solid saddle-leather, which is manufactured with an extra saddler stich due to the thickness of the leather. Luckily we found a leather manufacturer near Hamburg, who understands and commands the art of “hand-stitch-processing”. We’re accompanying each stage of the production process.
MS: Your handbags are sold in Hamburg in luxury boutiques like “Linette” to the corresponding prices. Why does the client choose your product, when she could investigate a similar amount in an established brand?
DS: The simplicity and objectivity of our design convinces. Our client is self-confident and doesn’t define herself by special brand, of which everybody knows the price. Our client also wants another handbag: One, which not everybody owns. BvH
Featured pic and Photos* by Stiebich & Rieth