My first contact with Ölend, a young brand from Barcelona, was in first person and through of a friend, who proudly showed me a personalized backpack made just for her. A real privilege in times where digital lookbooks have come to monopolize the experience of discovering a new brand.
Adriana Dumón and Fran Rios, the creative minds behind Ölend, started the adventure of a hand-made business in 2012, specializing in custom made backpacks. Months after discovering their practical, yet beautiful backpacks – aesthetically located halfway between Angela Chase and A.P.C.- I reencounter the brand this time through their lovely lookbook. We chatted with the designers about their love for hand-made things, their inspiration and what they carry in their backpacks.
What do you carry in your backpack?
Much hurry, tickets, ice cream spoons, bikelocks, some tools and a couple of packets of sugar cane.
What inspires you?
The mountains and the deer of our logo convey the idea that gave birth to Olend born and what inspires us. Our clearest reference are hiker backpacks from the 40s, but we give them a touch of Mediterranean blood that runs through our veins. Both the colors and materials are in harmony with nature. We like to use natural leathers, colored cotton fabrics that are in the mountains or at sea. Of course, also music, film, evenings with friends …
What are the benefits of a hand made production?
A final result much more organic and completely artisanal. No two identical backpacks. The philosophy of the brand is to rescue a taste for things well done, with soul and patience. When creating each bag from a dialogue with the customer, it is part of the creative process and can choose the finishes, colors and contribute ideas. Many customers are tired of having clothes made in China, in mass production. Much appreciate a garment that is made for you with love, something special, unique and proximate.
What designers and brands do you admire?
There are many brands that we like and that inspire us. Especially those who understand that making things with love and care is the key to move forward and to offer something different to what the big fashion brands propose. Usually its those kind of brands floating in the creative field in one way or another. We greatly admire those small entrepreneurs who we know through Instagram or Facebook, and are in this same adventure that we are, and we can identify with the difficulties involved in being a small brand.
How does the creation of each bag begin?
Sometimes we fall in love with a fabric and try new shapes and patterns. Other times we are clear about what we want to do. We prototype it on paper and see how the proportions add up. Once we are happy with the shape and structure, we turn to test the tissue. We almost always test the orders of our friends that give us freedom to design. From there we improve the final design and are proud when we put it in our catalogue.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where the passion for backpacks come from?
We are Adriana Dumon and Fran Rios. We met doing films, which is our passion and we were about to go live together to London. When we were there looking for a room and strolling around Shoreditch, we fell in love with the local style and wanted to buy everything we saw – but it was impossible because of the prices! One of the things we wanted to do then was to create a brand of coats at affordable prices, while paying close attention to the pattern, the fabric and details. In the end, we stayed here in Barcelona and decided to apply that concept to backpacks, which is an accessory that we love, especially the old mountaineer backpacks, which we accumulate in our homes.