THE AVANI RECYCLED LEATHER COLLECTION
This month OROTON introduces a truly sustainable capsule collection made from, of all things, the recycled leather offcuts from domestic gardening gloves. The result is a beautiful and highly durable line-up that is luxurious, supple and right for the times.
The technology feels like a silver lining: the waste-not initiative enabled OROTON’s design team to explore new-generation recycling whilst incorporating the house’s artisanal techniques. In turn, the Avani collection is all about playing with the idea of modernity and nostalgia, innovation and craft – designs were sketched out, materials were sampled, the team edited their ideas down to a series of clean-lined accessories: a structured case which resembles a miniature travel trunk, a statement-making handbag shaped like a crescent moon, along with a coordinated collection of trinket holders – pencil cases, key rings and pocket-size jewellery rolls, all designed to be mixed and matched in shades of Lemon Curd, Treacle and a liquorice black leather. New beginnings.
Here, OROTON’s Senior Designer Catharina Duval De Navarre shares the inspiration behind the new Avani collection.
Take us back to the beginning, how did this project come about?
It really developed through our desire to work with the most innovative and impressive environmentally friendly materials. I’ve always felt very strongly about making a difference, as a team we are all motivated by improving what we do in every way we can, we are all very much focused on incorporating materials into the collection that are sustainable.
The design team spent months researching sustainable options, and recycled leather proved a winning solution. How so?
We explored so many materials, but this particular recycled leather made from off-cuts of gardening gloves was the most promising – it was the easiest to use and the most malleable, the most desirable-looking. There were so many other possibilities on offer, but this material turned out to be the most suitable for us.
Picking environmentally friendly materials can be tricky because you always have to think about the entire lifecycle of the material. Most vegan and recycled materials available on the market today are actually made entirely out of plastic, which won’t biodegrade. So we are fond of the idea that the material we found is made out of 60% recycled leather rather than plastic.
I think the perfect material does not exist yet but until it does recycled materials are our best option.
Were you excited to work with this material, what were the constraints and how did you make it feel like a luxurious proposition?
It actually looks like normal leather, you have to see it to believe it, that was the first major positive. So many of the other materials we experimented with didn’t pass the test because they scratched easily, or didn’t feel desirable. We tested and tested and tested. We will continue to keep on pushing this technology, ultimately the team is extremely dedicated to working with as many recycled and sustainable materials as possible.
Can you explain why you are so passionate about sustainability?
Honestly, I always have been, ever since I first dived into the subject at university at Parsons School of Design in New York. That was ten years ago, and from there I have always considered how fashion should do its best to take care of its resources. I do believe that it's our responsibility to make a product that has the least impact on the environment as possible. It's a pressing issue for everyone. Consumers care about the origins of their purchases, where a certain material comes from, so we all have to work harder.
Tell us about your aesthetic and how you approached the collection: were there certain design constraints?
I think we created some of the most beautiful art-like shapes, quite minimal, not too complicated but very considered and practical. We are always motivated by that idea: ‘what is this accessory’s end use; who is going to carry it?’ A collection always starts with endless research – it could be anything that inspires us from Mid Century furniture to organic shapes in nature. It’s all about drilling down and honing in on the details.
The Avani collection comprises such a divine palette. Can you tell us how you arrived at the colours?
Sophie [Holt, OROTON’s Creative Director] has such a beautiful eye when it comes to colour and she always picks the most heavenly shades and tones each season, everything is subtle and timeless, and it layers from one season to the next. I feel these are such wonderful neutrals, they work back with everything in your wardrobe.
Lastly, this year has been such a tough year, how are you staying positive and maintaining your creativity right now?
I think we are fortunate in that we live in such a digitally connected world – of course, this cannot replace real-life experiences but at least it allows us to connect. I am also grateful in that we have a wonderful team and we inspire each other a lot, we have been so conscious of doing so during the pandemic. Everyone brings a lot of research to the table, and that’s a treat in itself to immerse in photos, books and all the cultural cues that are inspiring and motivating our team right now. That is such a wonderful energy.
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