Monthly Archives: May 2016

Raff Handbags

Raff Fair Trade Handbags

Raff bags

I had been looking for a small, sturdy, stylish and comfortable leather backpack for ages when I came across the Hugo backpack from Raff.   I was thrilled to discover a contemporary backpack, that can also be worn as a cross body bag, which has been handcrafted using traditional techniques.  Each bag is handmade in India according to Fair Trade principles.  We caught up with Raff’s Creative Head, Rashi Agarwal, to find out more about the brand.

 

Raff bags

How would you describe your brand?

Raff is inspired from the simplicity of minimalism. A contemporary brand but still traditional in the way that the bags are made. We focus on the details and the craftsmanship to provide great quality leather bags which are unique and stand the test of time. Raff supports Fair Trade and we pay fair wages to our craftsmen, which is an integral part of the brand.

Raff bag Maus

What inspired you to start a handcrafted leather bags company?

Leather is something that I love working with as it only gets better with age. After graduating in 2012 from London College of Fashion in Accessory design, with the extensive knowledge of leather bag making under my arsenal, I joined a leading leather handbag company in India as a Product Designer. Working there for two years gave me a good insight into how the leather handbag industry works. During this time I met my now fiance and partner Maurits. Designing and making handbags at home for myself was a hobby. A tote bag that I made (which is now called Maus, named after Maurits)(above) inspired us to develop the range and start our own leather bags company. We wanted to create something that is unique but is still practical and of top quality. We worked hard on the designs and the brand for two years before finally launching Raff in January, 2016.

Why buffalo leather?

Raff handbags are made of natural, vegetable tanned buffalo leather which is one of the strongest hides and provides durability to the bag. It is the perfect leather for hand stitching as it doesn’t stretch over-time. Also, our bags are quite unique in their shapes and it is an important design element. The buffalo leather holds the shape really well even with frequent use.
Raff bags
Raff bags
Raff bags

What makes a Raff bag unique?

Raff’s unique shapes sets it apart from other bags in the market, yet they still blend seamlessly with a modern women’s wardrobe. The handbags are completely handmade and hand stitched using a saddle stitch technique. This painstaking and traditional construction method offers unmatched strength, lasting longer than normal machine stitching. This is not commonly seen in brands at our prices, as it is very time consuming and a dying art. We wanted to bring that to our brand and hence each bag is completely handmade with no use of any machinery. Our leathers are environmentally friendly and harmless to the skin. They are made by artisans in India who are provided fair pricing and healthy living conditions.
Raff handbags
Raff handbags
Raff handbags

Where do you find your inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere. Modern art and architecture are a great source of inspiration. I look for interesting shapes that I could redesign and create into a silhouette for handbags. Raff’s current collection was inspired from a top view image of the Praxis 48 typewriter by Ettore Sottsass and Hans von Klier. I took the negative space and started sketching, which resulted in the design for Maus.

What’s next for Raff?

We are very excited to finally reach out to customers in Europe and are looking to expand our presence there. Currently I am working on designing small leather goods and a few designs for men to add to the range, which is very exciting.
Raff bags
 You can view the Raff collection here.  Raff is offering free shipping in the EU.  For those of you based in the Netherlands you can shop at nl.shopraff.com.  Customers outside the Netherlands can visit shopraff.com to place an order.

Riad Due Marrakech

Riad Due a hip boutique hotel in the Marrakech Medina

Riad Due is a boutique hotel tucked away in the Marrakech Medina.  It’s a typical Riad set around a courtyard with rooms facing inward but it has been elegantly restored and decorated by Italian owner Giovanna Cinel, who also owns Riad 72.  The Riad has four very spacious, luxurious, bedrooms and can sleep up to twelve.  It’s the perfect place for a private get together or celebration.  For lovers of Moroccan architecture and interiors it’s a feast for the eyes so I will say no more and let the images do the talking:

The Courtyard

riad due courtyard maud interiors

The courtyard complete with a plunge pool which is very welcome in the summer months.

Doors to samir suite Riad Due maud interiors

Traditional wooden doors open into the Samir suite.

cosy corner Riad Due Marrakech Maud interiors

A cosy nook with a wonderful old door as decoration.  For cushions by the same designer have a look at our Souk Collection.

courtyard view road due maud interiors

Views over the courtyard.

The Bedrooms

Abdul-bedroom-Riad-Due

The Abdel suite with a traditional carved ceiling, Beni Ourain rug, kantha throw on the bed and an ornate painted chest.  This room has a sunken bath with a skylight above it so you can gaze up at the stars.

Zan-Suite-Riad-Due

The Zan suite complete with a copper bath, an original wooden ceiling and an Indian kantha throw.  For similar kantha throws have a look at our vintage kantha throws.

 

Kamal-bedroom-Riad-Due

The Kamal deluxe room features warm colours, a vibrant kantha throw and an incredible ornate ceiling.

 

Samir Suite Riad Due Marrakech

The Samir suite complete with a fireplace for the winter months.  The headboard in this room is an ornate Moroccan door. I like the idea of including a bookshelf and books in the room as it makes it feel more like home.

Decorative Details

ceiling detail Riad Due Marrakech Maud interiors

Stucco plaster work features on some of the ceilings in Riad Due.

painted chest riad due marrakech maud interiors

A striking cabinet in the entrance to the Zan suite.

old door riad due marrakech maud interiors

Traditional doors feature throughout Riad Due.

tiles riad due marrakech maud interiors

Striking tiles and a cleverly placed mirror which reflects the stonework.

Sun hats Riad Due Maud interiors

Sun hats ready for use on the terrace.

The Roof Terrace

the roof terrace riad due maud interiors

A sun spot with views over Marrakech to the Atlas mountains.

 

I would be happy to move in.  What do you think?

Click here for more information on Riad Due.

For information on Riad 72, mentioned in a previous post click here.