The Windows & Doorways Collection does not only consist of functional bags that make your life a little easier and your business or leisure appearance glow. The collection also brings a big bunch of culture with it and stories that want to be carried out into the world. They are hidden in the production process of the bags.
Let’s start with the first thing you see, the shapes and lines of the design: They represent the architecture, the windows and doorways of Marrakech, decorating a vibrant city full of people going about their daily lives. They are symbols for looking into an exotic land and culture to find that their dreams and struggles are mirrors of our own.
Let’s continue with the things you don’t see at first sight. You see leather and you see a beautiful lining when opening the bag of a material you don’t recognise at first. Right, so what’s behind the materials and how are they brought together?
First Production Process Step: Leather Preparation
Both of the main materials – the leather and the material of the lining – are locally sourced. The leather used is goat leather, sourced entirely and directly from the community. In the Moroccan culture, goats are often involved in religious holiday celebrations. After these celebrations, when the remains of the animal are dis-guarded, the hides are collected by locals, and then sold to local tanneries. It is very likely that the Windows & Doorways handbags are made from goats that feed a family, which means that the whole animal was used.
The production process and preparation of the goat leather starts with laying out pattern pieces on the leather. This is to maximise the material and to avoid any holes or blemishes caused during the tanning process. Then, each leather piece is cut out by hand with a combination of hand tools such as scissors and razors. Those leather pieces that are to have seams and require bevelling are either taken to a hand-guided skiving machine or bevelled by hand with a sharp edge. At the same time, those leather edges that are to be left raw, which means they are not folded over, are “burnished and stained”. This involves singeing or sanding the edges smooth, and then painting them by hand with an edge dye.
Second Production Process Step: Lining Preparation
So what’s this shiny, almost metallic looking material used for the lining of the bags? It’s so-called Sabra Silk, a luxurious fabric from Morocco. In fact, this is one of the few types of vegan silk. It is gained from agave cacti grown in the Sahara Desert and then hand-loomed, which requires much diligence and time. It is tradition in the communities to keep the fabric as natural as possible. Thus, the dyeing process of cactus silk would only ever be done using natural vegetable dyes. Due to the fact that cacti can be easily replaced because they are very quick to grow and sabra silk has no carbon footprint as it is hand-loomed, one can easily conclude that this material is 100% eco-friendly.
To avoid any waste of material pattern pieces are laid out on the material again before the pieces are cut by hand. This is also to align with he eave direction of the fabric. A sign of quality is how the thread ends are dealt with. Each seam end has the tails tied in a knot and the remains singed away. This is to prevent the seam from failing in the future.
Third Production Process Step: Construction – Windows & Doorways coming to life
While working on hand-guided sewing machines, the various elements of the bag lining are created first. These include pockets and tabs. Zippers and other hardware is added in the process. Before all pieces are brought together, bag features like appliqués and handles are created. Seam edges are first glued together by hand to ensure each piece is in its correct position. Each glued piece edge is tamped to seal the seam. Finally, each seam is sewn on hand-guided sewing machines.
Lastly, the parts are mated, seams are glued and tamped, and the major seams are stitched. Hardware and main zippers are added at this point. At last, the last details are attended to, like edge painting, seam tamping, turns, etc… The leather tassels add the finishing touch. The result is called Rabbia.