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Midcentury Modern Show London Sunday 19th March

Giveaway – A Pair Of Tickets To The Midcentury Modern Show, Dulwich College, London, Sunday 19th March

Midcentury Modern Show

 

“This show could cause design lovers a cardiac arrest.” Grand Designs

 

About The Show

We are excited to be exhibiting again at the Midcentury Modern Show in Dulwich College, London, on Sunday 19th March.  The show is one of our favourites.  It’s a mix of the best in 20th century design classics and modern collectables.  If you love Scandinavian and American modernism, European Bauhaus, British, French and German industrial design then this is the venue for you.  There are 85 dealers at this design destination so you can source the latest furniture, textiles, ceramics and gifts and find yourself an original mid century piece.

We will be exhibiting our range of contemporary and vintage handcrafted textiles and baskets in stand 8 in the Upper Gallery and look forward to meeting you there.

Giveaway

We are giving away a pair of tickets to the show on a first come first served basis.  All you have to do is email us at: info@maudinteriors.com with the name and email address of the two people you would like to attend the show.  Please note there is no cash substitute for this giveaway.

 

‘Midcentury Modern is a dangerous show. All the must-see vintage furniture, lighting and accessories dealers in one place makes for serious temptation. Lucy and Petra organise the shows with their idiosyncratic verve and energy and in atmospheric locations so the events feel like an occasion / day out and not just a shopping experience.’ Jenny Dalton. Freelance. How To Spend It. Financial Times.

 

Click here for more information on the Midcentury Modern shows.

Please note tickets have now been allocated.

 

 

 

Josef Frank Exhibition: Patterns Furniture Painting

 

Josef Frank, architect, designer and artist (1885-1967)

josef frank exhibition

The Fashion and Textile museum in London is currently holding the first UK exhibition of the work of Josef Frank (1885 – 1967), who is considered to be one of Sweden’s most influential designers.  Bold, vibrant, botanical prints characterise the work of the architect, designer and artist and his colourful take on modernism is on trend today. The above room set, from the Josef Frank exhibition with its botanical prints and greenery, wouldn’t be out of place in a contemporary interiors magazine.

 

Frank was born in Austria and studied architecture in Vienna.  He founded his own practice after the First World War and established Haus & Garten, a design and furnishings company. He left Austria in 1933 to escape Nazi discrimination and moved to Sweden.  Unable to find work as an architect he was approached by Estrid Ericson, the founder of the internationally renowned interior design company, Svenskt Tenn, who admired his designs and asked him to work for the company. This was the start of a working relationship, which lasted 30 years.

 

Frank believed that a home should be a comfortable, cosy place to live and his designs injected a pop of colour into the Swedish modernist movement. The uplifting effect of the vibrant colours and botanical designs bursting with insects and birds was in stark contrast with the mood and turmoil of the interwar and Second World War.

The exhibition features over 120 of Frank’s designs and include a large selection of his watercolours.  These are some of my favourites:

 

josef frank exhibition

One of Frank’s earliest designs, Fruhling 1925 – 30, a delicate block print with deep red tree trunks and blue leaves.

 

IMG_9844

An illustration for Frank’s design,Window (1943-45), depicting common plants.

josef frank exhibition

My favourite, Rox and Fix (1943 – 45), featuring hills inspired by Chinese ink paintings and large fig trees.

josef frank exhibition

One of Frank’s vibrant designs,  Mirakel (1925-30).

Josef Frank’s designs are still in production at Svenskt Tenn. You can see more of his work here.

The Josef Frank exhibition is at the Fashion and Textile museum in London until 7th May 2017.

Seeking Africa Exhibition

Seeking Africa: Design/Art Across A Continent Exhibition

Seeking Africa: Design/Art Across A Continent

 

The Seeking Africa exhibition, at Themes and Variations on Westbourne Grove in London, is one of the first exhibitions in the UK to focus on the variety of contemporary design from Africa.  The exhibition has been cleverly curated to give a glimpse of what is happening in different countries via chosen artists.  Themes range from pollution and the effects on the environment, reflected in photography and furniture from recycled oil drums, to story telling through basket weaving.

 

The basket weaving drew my attention as two of the baskets are from a series of three Biography Baskets.  These Biography baskets are part of the Song of the Weaver project, created by three generations of weavers: grandmother, daughter and granddaughter from one family who work for social enterprise, Gone Rural, in Swaziland. Each of the baskets in the series captures the memories of the lives of  the weaver through grasses and objects found on their homesteads.

 

Seeking Africa Exhibition

Seeking Africa Exhibition

The basket above is by Siphiwe Mngometulu, the daughter of the trio, who is the head of her homestead.  Siphiwe left school after falling pregnant and began weaving to support her child.  Together Siphiwe and her husband had six more children building a life together at his homestead.  Then one day her husband sold all their cattle and left.  He did not return for four years.

Siphiwe had to leave her husband’s family homestead but with her income from Gone Rural she was able to start her life again, building a new house and buying animals  but she has yet to regain her herd of cattle.  This is her ultimate dream.  Her husband now visits a few times a year.   Her basket is a visual memoir of her life.  Woven from grasses and collected objects, there are memories embedded in every strand of the basket.  Like the bone, which signifies that Siphiwe is the backbone of her family.  The goat skull and metal disc are reminders of her husband as Siphiwe always slays a goat when he returns home and the disc symbolises her husband’s return by bicycle.  The numerous layers of grasses symbolise the years of Siphiwe’s life (some fertile and some dry).

 

Seeking Africa Exhibition

The basket above is by Bonakele Ngwenya, Siphiwe’s first-born daughter.  Like her mother she left school at 16 when she became pregnant.  She was sad to have to leave school but happy to have a daughter.  Bonakele learnt how to weave from her mother and joined Gone Rural to support her child.  Her basket is very different in style from her mother’s.   The use of pink symbolises her love for her daughter and the metal loops represent her husband’s unstable employment.  The depressed base is her sadness at having to leave school and the zig zag patterns on the top of the basket allude to the style of basket she normally weaves for Gone Rural and her prayer for more work in the future.

seeking africa exhibition

seeking africa exhibition

Another Gone Rural basket, from a different collection, woven from recycled fabric and plastic covered grasses and copper wire.

 

seeking

 

seeking africa exhibition

Also part of the Seeking Africa exhibition were two striking baskets by Beauty Ngxongo from Zululand.  Functional, beautiful and decorative, Zulu baskets are some of the most collectable in the world.  The ones above are tightly woven from ilala palm, so tightly woven that the they are watertight.  I particularly like the earthy mix of colours and striking patterns in these baskets.

 

The Seeking Africa exhibition runs until 16th December but hurry if you want to see everything as the exhibits are for sale and are selling fast. Learn more at Themes and Variations, 231 Westbourne Grove, London.

 

The background information on the Biography Baskets is from Gone Rural.  Find out more about social enterprise Gone Rural here and click here to see our selection of baskets from Gone Rural.

How To Create A Cosy Home This Christmas

Tips On Creating A Cosy Home

I’m typing this post wrapped in one of our cosy waffle throws to block out the blast of cold air coming through ancient wooden French doors and cursing myself for not ordering replacement wooden doors and windows earlier in the year.

As a sun-loving Leo I struggle with the cold, dark,winter months so I like to create a cosy home where I can hibernate until the mild weather arrives.  For me the key essentials are warmth, lighting, colour and wintry scents.  Take a look at the Pinterest visuals above for ideas.  To see the full board use the scroll bar on the right hand side.

Warmth

  •  A roaring wood fire or burner helps create a cosy feel but older homes can still be draughty so the trick is to layer the textiles in your home.  Add wool blankets and throws to sofas so  you can curl up under them.  Pile on the cushions so you sink into them
  • If you have wooden, tiled or laminate flooring, add some deep pile rugs and runners for warmth and softness underfoot
  • Layer your bedding by adding coverlets, blankets and kantha throws for extra warmth and texture.  Increase the number of pillows too for extra comfort.

Lighting

  •  When it’s dark outside add extra table lights inside to create pools of light
  • Add clusters of candles to create a warm glow.  Use metallic candle holders in brass, copper and silver to reflect the light
  • String fairy lights over mirrors and mantlepieces, loop them along walls or cascade them down windows to create a magical Christmassy feel.

Colour

  • Introduce some warmer colours in the form of throws, cushions, a tablecloth or rug.  Browns, russets, pinks, reds, oranges and some yellows will all create a warmer feel.

Scent

  • Scent your home with woody, spicy smells.  I like Diptyque’s Cannelle and Amber candles
  • I add to this with large bunches of eucalyptus which I use in pots, on the mantelpiece, in wreaths, on my dining table and for gift wrapping (I prefer natural decorations).
  • Finally, there’s nothing like a real pine Christmas tree to create a wonderful woody aroma.

Monochrome Interior Inspiration

Monochrome Interiors And How To Create Them

 

Scandi or monochrome interiors can be difficult to pull off as they can look stark, cold and clinical.  Two Scandinavian designers who nail this look are Danish fashion, interior designer and artist, Marlene Birger and Swedish stylist, make-up artist and founder of boutique, Miloii, Karolina Vertus.  You can see shots from their properties in our Pinterest board above (use the scroll bar on the right hand side to see all the photos).

There are five key elements to monochrome interiors:

1.Pattern

Add patterned rugs, blankets, cushions and throws to break up expanses of one colour.   Stick to a restricted colour palette and don’t be afraid to mix stripes, zig zags, florals and tribal motifs.

2.Global textiles

Thick Beni Ourain rugs, hand-woven runners, striped and patterned blankets, sequinned wedding blankets, throws and piles of assorted cushions all add layers, texture, pattern and warmth.

3.Metallics

Sequinned Moroccan wedding blankets, lassi cups, silver sculptures, candlesticks, contemporary metallic lights, tea light holders, inlaid furniture and metallic tiles all reflect the light and add sparkle.

4.Natural materials

Rustic or global wooden furniture, tribal carvings and wicker baskets all add texture.  I would also add plants to the mix.

5.Artwork

Create a visual feast with bold contemporary artwork or mix and match styles on a gallery wall.

 

Get The Look

monochrome interiorsMonochrome interiors

  1.  Add pattern and texture with our hand-woven Indian Zig Zag runner in black and white, £380
  2. A bold striped blanket, perfect on the bed or thrown over a sofa, Moroccan Pom Pom Blanket Natural Black £183
  3. Kilim Pouf Ayoub, a Beni Ourain pouf, will provide extra seating, pattern and texture to a room, £110
  4. A sophisticated basket with layers of ribbing will add texture, Open Ribbed Basket Black Gogo Christina, £112, shown here on our natural and white Indian Zig Zag runner, £380
  5. A striped blanket will add warmth and pattern, Moroccan Pom Pom Blanket Black Natural, £183
  6. Add a decorative touch with one of our storage baskets, Bonakele Black, £180
  7. These Black and Natural baskets Bonakele, available in three sizes, £34 – £80, add pattern and texture
  8. A traditional Beni Ourain carpet adds pattern, texture and warmth underfoot, £795
  9. Vintage lassi cups add pattern and a silvery shine, (available in a variety of patterns and sizes), £30 – £34
  10. Add sparkle with vintage Moroccan wedding blankets, (shown here Assia) £225 and cushions.

 

If you are a fan of monochrome interiors you can read more on Karonlina Vertus, her apartment and family, in Milk magazine here. Marlene Birger has written two books on her style and properties, you can read more about them and see her artwork here.

 

Maud’s Travels – Marrakech Part 1

 Marrakech Part 1 – Day 1 The Souks

 

aladdins-cave-maud-interiors

Marrakech is one of my favourite cities. I am drawn to its souks bursting with crafts, the creativity of the artisans, the architecture, the fragrant tagines and sweet, sticky, pastries and its welcoming people.  It’s only a short flight from the UK so it’s the perfect destination for a long weekend and paradise for interior lovers.  This post was originally intended to be my suggestions for a long weekend in Marrakech but there is too much information to share so part one focuses on a day in the souks.

 

The souks are situated in the Medina or old town. They stretch over roughly 20 hectares from the Ben Yousef mosque in the north to the main square, Jemaa-el-Fna in the south. It’s a labyrinth of interconnected alleyways full to bursting with hand-woven carpets, intricate metal lanterns and ironmongery, pungent spices and exotic oils, ceramics, leather bags, poufs and slippers, dried fruits, hand carved furniture and baskets.

carpets MarrakechMoroccan lights Marrakech

Marrakech has historically been a trading hub and as well as handicrafts from other regions, you can also find goods from the Maghreb and sub Saharan Africa.   Indigo fabric from Mali, hand carved wooden doors from Benin, jewellery and ceramics from the nomadic Tuaregs and Kuba cloth from the Congo can all be found within the souks.

 

There are eighteen different souks and most of them are devoted to different trades. You will get lost exploring the maze of lanes but you don’t need a guide.  It’s all part of the experience and the best way to discover new places.  If you do become disoriented or are in a hurry to find something just ask one of the stall holders for directions.

Some of my favourite places to visit are:

Criée Berbère, the carpet souk

spice-market-marrakech-maud-interiors

Carpets are sold in many locations in the souks, there are small stalls and three storey riads devoted to them but this is the main area and is situated to one side of Rabha Kdima, the spice market, show in the picture above.

Some tips for buying carpets:

  • Take your time and visit a few places before you make a decision
  • Always ask for a carpet to be held up to the light, as it is easier to detect holes and marks. If it is too dark take the carpet outside and inspect it in natural light
  • Give carpets a good sniff and steer clear of anything with an unpleasant odour as it is likely to be permanent.  That goes for all textiles not just rugs
  • If you are serious about buying a carpet then take a mint tea with your salesman and be prepared to negotiate. There are no fixed prices so bargain hard.

Souk Sebbaghine, the dyers souk

the dyers souk marrakech

You can’t miss this souk as there are always skeins of newly dyed wool in vibrant colours drying overhead in the sun. For a small fee you can see how wool is dyed here.

 

Souk El Haddadine, the blacksmiths souk

tea trays marrakech maud interiorslanterns marrakech

The sound of hammers beating on metal can be heard on approach to the blacksmiths’ souk.  Feast your eyes on lamp stands, beaten metal trays, padlocks, door knockers and ornate candlesticks. Nearby you will find an area specialising in ornate metal lanterns.

One thing to bear in mind if you are buying a lightweight metal lantern is that they don’t travel well. They dent easily and it’s difficult and in some cases impossible to repair them. The best way to transport them is as hand luggage but not all airlines will allow this. My advice is to buy them from one of the larger stalls/shops, as they will be able to pack them securely and arrange shipping.

 

Souk El Khebil

Here you will find woodworkers creating household implements from lemon and orange wood. Chose from handcrafted lemon squeezers, biscuit moulds, honey drizzlers, spoons and ornate kebab sticks. They make great gifts. Note that unlike the carpet souks, where the sellers are agents for the weavers and put a substantial mark up on the carpets, these stall holders are the artisans and the work is labour intensive so the prices are fixed.

 

Terasse Des Epices, Dar Cherifa

Terrasses Des Epices MarrakechMint tea Marrakechterrasse-des-epices-marrakech-maud-interiors

 

When you are footsore, tired of dodging kamikaze motorbike drivers, donkeys, carts and bicycles, and overwhelmed with the choice of beautiful handicrafts take some time out and stop for a mint tea and pastries, or lunch, at Terasses Des Epices in Dar Cherifa. The food is a wonderful Franco-Moroccan fusion, there is a great atmosphere and the mist of water from the roof top sprays will help to cool you down.

After lunch check out the hand-embroidered linens at Scenes Du Lin, the black and white pottery from Fez, and the beldi glasses in Dar Cherifa.

 

Rahba Kdima, the spice market

Spice market MarrakechDried rosebuds Marrakech

 

Mounds of exotic spices, dyes, herbs, fragrant oils, henna, kohl, dried roses and rosewater, savon noir, ghassoul and traditional medicines are sold in this market.

 

Visit A Traditional  Hammam

local hammam Marrakech

 

The best way to relax after a day exploring the souks is to have a traditional hammam. You can go to a public one, some riads offer them, or you can go to one of the large hotels or spas. You can read about my hammam experience and learn how to create your own at home here. Note that you should allow at least two hours for the full experience.

L’Art Du Bain, Souk el Badine

lart-du-bain-marrakechlart-du-bain2-marrakech-maud-interiors

If you enjoy your hammam experience you can stock up on products at L’Art Du Bain, in Souk el Badine near Souk Sebbaghine. Here you will find argan oil soaps with blends of herbs and flowers like orange blossom. I like the Little Fatima argan oil soap with ghassoul clay and grains, the Savon de Hammam, which is the black soap used for exfoliation in the hammam, and Louise, Louisa argan oil soap with verbena and lemon. All the products are beautifully packaged and make great gifts.

 

Said Argan, Souk El Kemmahhine

For argan oil, said to be rich in anti-ageing properties and anti-oxidants, I recommend Said Argan. It’s a tiny kiosk run by a women’s cooperative at 6 Souk El Kemmahhine near Dar Cherifa, almost opposite the equally tiny beldi glass shop.  Blink and you will miss them. They have a range of argan related beauty products. My favourite is the argan oil with rose.

 

Watch The Entertainment At Jemaa-el-Fna

After a busy day take a pre-dinner stroll through Jemaa-el-Fna,or take in the spectacle of snake charmers, acrobats, musicians and dancers from a cafe overlooking the square.

jemaa-el-fnaa-marrakech

Dine At Nomad

For dinner I recommend Nomad, at 1 Derb Aarjan near Rahba Kdima, the spice market, for its cool cocktails, delicious Moroccan cuisine with a modern twist and chic, modern global, interiors.

Nomad Marrakechkilim-seating-nomad-marrakech-maud-interiorsnomad-kilim-seating-maud-interiors

Where To Stay

There are thousands of hotels and riads in Marrakech to choose from. I prefer to stay in a riad in the Medina and my favourite place to stay is Riad 72. You can read more about it here.

 

ABC Fifties Style

A 1950’s Sampler

I discovered this sampler in my mother’s house whilst looking after her.  Sadly her battle with Alzheimer’s and dementia was in its final stages and she was unable to tell me about it but I know that she made it at school or as part of her degree in art and textiles.  I like the simple use of fabrics and the subtle colour palette, I’m guessing this was partly due to limited materials in the post war period, and the designs and patterns she created.

1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

abc-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

The lettering on every right hand page features different patterns.

d-is-for-dog-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

A poodle with attitude!

efg-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

h-is-for-house-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

ijkl-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

l-for-lion-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

Love the foliage on this page and the mix of patterns.

mnop-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

qrst-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

1950’s style swooping birds and another very decorative tree

t-tree-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

uvwxyz-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

w-wasp-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

My favourite design is this wasp with gossamer-like wings.

end-1950s-sampler-maud-interiors

Graduation Gifts

Graduation Gifts For Students Leaving Home

Need some gift inspiration for a daughter, son, relative or friend who has just graduated?  Check out our suggestions below:

graduation gifts

 

  1. An embroidered cushion to brighten up a sterile dorm room or tired rental.  The motifs and stitches in this unique piece of Kutch embroidery have been handed down from mother to daughter over generations.
  2. Combine number one with one of our best-selling Moroccan pom pom blankets in beige and natural. These hand woven blankets are designed to withstand the cold in the Atlas mountains so are perfect for snuggling under on winter nights.
  3. For a boho look add Tanjaoui,one of our Souk Collection cushions, to the mix.  Each piece in the collection is one-of-a-kind and mixes vintage fabrics, ribbons and silk screened henna prints with an old silk screened image of a Berber woman.
  4. Headgear, a cushion inspired by a traditional African saying “What you cannot carry on your head you can most probably live without”. Hand printed and hand painted no two cushions are alike in this collection.  Mix with other styles in the Namibian collection to create a contemporary global feel.  This piece works well with our Moroccan pom pom blankets too.
  5. Stylish storage in the form of this super size Swazi basket, Bonakele.  Hand woven from indigenous grasses by social enterprise, Gone Rural, this large decorative storage basket is perfect for towel, throws, magazines or a plant.
  6. A firm favourite with interior designers, this versatile Moroccan pom pom blanket in black and white stripes, will instantly add warmth and style to a student bedroom.
  7. A bold, bright, beautiful boho kilim pouf, Nabila, perfect for adding a colour and pattern to a room.  Use as extra seating or a low table.
  8. Eye-catching Clamp dyed cushion covers will instantly update a room.  Mix and match styles and combine with 9, our natural wool Moroccan pom pom blanket to complete the look.

Shreyas Yoga Retreat

Relax and Re-energise at Shreyas Yoga Retreat, Karnataka, India

Shreyas coconut plantation maud interiors

 

Shreyas is an Ayurvedic yoga and wellbeing retreat in Karnataka, an hour by car from Bangalore.  It’s a Relais & Chateau hotel offering all the benefits of a traditional ashram without the austerity associated with ashram life.   It’s the place to go when you want to escape from daily life to focus on yoga and meditation and re-energize.

You start to relax on the drive to the retreat, as you pass through lush tropical vegetation and small farming communities, and that feeling of tranquility and calm continues throughout your stay.

Deep stillness in beautiful surroundings

The sense of peacefulness and deep stillness is in part due to the beautiful surroundings.  The retreat is set in 25 acres of coconut plantation, frangipani trees and organic farmland.  The only sounds are birds singing, the odd monkey chattering and frogs croaking in the evenings.

shreyas yoga retreat

Shreyas yoga retreat

Shreyas is an Ayurvedic ashram.  Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of holistic medicine balancing mind and body through diet, yoga, meditation and herbal treatments.  My stay began with a personal consultation with the on-site Ayurvedic and naturopathic doctors who created my agenda for the week based on my needs and the yoga package I had chosen.

Yoga-pavilion-Shreyas-Maud-interiors

Shreyas yoga retreat

Days start in traditional ashram style at 06.30am with one and half hours of yoga, either hatha or ashtanga depending on your ability.  Practising yoga in the early morning in the yoga pavilion just as the sun is coming out and the ground is beginning to warm up is a wonderful way to wake up and start the day.

My yoga package included two group yoga classes a day, and five individual yoga sessions.  The yoga is expertly taught in a disciplined, traditional, way and the teachers are inspiring.

After the intensity of the yoga sessions you can relax by the pool or book a treatment or massage at the Ayurvedic spa.  Choose from Balinese, Thai, Swedish or Ayurvedic massages.

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.11.31

shreyas yoga retreat

Time for introspection and reflection

Meditation is an integral part of the yoga package, something which is often overlooked in Western yoga.  Classes include pranayama to regulate and extend breathing, yoga nidra, taking you into a deeper state of consciousness, candle meditation or trataka, which helps improve focus and concentration, and guided meditation.  All these techniques aid relaxation and help create a sense of inner calm.

As well as seated meditation you can take a walking meditation in the grounds or find one of the hidden machans (above) in the organic gardens and spend time meditating there.

shreyas yoga retreat

shreyas yoga retreat

Shreyas decor

There are three types of accommodation: tented cabins with al fresco bathrooms, rooms by the infinity pool and three rooms in a separate cottage with a large lounge area.

All the interiors have an understated elegance, featuring natural colours and materials, which blend in with the surroundings. There is the odd splash of colour in the form of  kantha cushions and large meditation bowls filled with floating roses or geraniums.

Delicious, nutritious, vegetarian meals

Shreyas cooking lesson

Shreyas-at-night

Shreyas is an ashram so the food is vegetarian and there is a a strictly no alcohol policy.   The food is light, plentiful and delicious. Meals vary from Indian to Mexican to European and the ingredients are mainly sourced from the organic gardens.  As part of my yoga package I had a cookery demonstration with Chef Mani and learnt how to make a nourishing spinach and cumin soup. You can find the recipe here.

The staff go out of their way to make each meal an experience.  From the variety of dishes, to the floral table decorations, to the venue which changes every evening.  One night you might be sitting by a roaring fire (I visited in February) in a candlelit garden, another you may be sitting near the pool surrounded by coloured lanterns.

Returning home after such a wonderful break is tough but the staff help you to integrate what you have learned during your stay into you daily life back home with practical guidance and a yoga manual to assist you with your practice.  I returned home feeling relaxed, re-energised and planning my return trip.

You can find out more about Shreyas here.

Shreyas yoga retreat

Photos courtesy of Shreyas

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.