As I made my way towards a location I’d never been before to view a brand I’d never heard of before, I couldn’t stop staring at their invitation. It was a white card the size and paper thinness of a post card, there was a stamp that said “Hand Made By Universal” – not sure what that meant – and a product description that said “bag-like objects”. It was all very mysterious.
When I finally arrived, I walked in happy to get out of the cold and into the heat, and it was quite warm thanks to the numerous heating devices and the large number of people circulating around. It was my first indication that I might have stumbled onto something good.
My first impression was that this presentation is one of those artsy exhibits you’d go to for a friend, of a friend. The location was an abandoned space or an empty space someone loaned I presumed, and on the floor was yards of peach fabric with plastic bags layered on top. In random places stacks of white linen fabric were piled high like small mountains, and there at the tip top were “bag-like” objects in leather.
Along the walls were more pieces suspended by long black nails. I went to get a closer look and, wow, I could see where the money went, the pieces were lovely. Everything about the leather works was high quality from the material, to the design, to the construction, it was really good.
Eager now to get a look at the whole collection I started looking around and I noticed there were models at the presentation as well. They were dressed in similar status to the location – they wore strips and cuts of simple white fabrics draped and hand-sewn together to create a dress. The dresses were short and asymmetrical in style, they also wore white tights and the cutest pair of white house slippers with silver rivets in the center. It was enchanting.
I also noted the models paraded the more high fashion bags while the utility bags hung on the walls. The models moved happily about when engaged by the camera, one of the livelier models held a stylish bucket bag covered in florets which was my absolute favorite.
This isn’t to say the utility bags didn’t attract a lot of attention as well, because they did. The more interesting design was a two handle bag in the shape of a punching bag.
There were also backpacks, saddle bags and fanny packs – all in black leather. Actually the entire collection was made in black and white with a few pieces in nude. By the end I thought this is a very simple, very elegant start for a new brand.
And then it occurred to me, Hermès and Trussardi also started as a simple leather goods company.