A chat with Jérome Berg
Handmade bags made in Germany. That's it. Jérome Berg opened the doors of his cozy apartment in Kreuzberg to tell us a little bit about his empowered story.
After workin' w/ fashion labels, the Berlin-based designer decided to create his own studio. The inspo? Contemporary art combined w/ a little youth culture & classic high-end workmanship. Everything starts w/ a sketch. And then it is thrown away so Jérome can rethink it. And then he does it again - till he's happy about it.
Seeing bags as classic pieces, Jérome embraces the materials as highlightin' points during creative processes. In a wrld full of plastic, he proves lxthr is obvs a great choice - and the most sustainable 1.
"If you work with real leather, there is no way not to be sustainable"
For inspiration, he looks everywhere. There's no such thing as an idol 'cause the truth is: the game changes fast like a lambo - and everyone is inspiring somehow.
Come n see our chat w/ Jérome 👇
So you started your own studio in 2012. How has this idea come to your mind? How was the beginning of your project?
Well, I guess it started earlier. Everyone would say, “I always wanted to create something by myself.” But I just asked my mother because I saw that question and she said, "do you remember when you were about like nine years old?"
She bought a bag, a high-quality bag. I don't recall the brand's name, but it was good quality, let's say that. And she was dreaming about that. For years, I guess. And one day she wasn't home but I was. And I thought, let's redesign it. And I took the scissors and some hot glue pistol and redesigned it. So she was very mad, but I guess that's how it started. And then in 2012, I used to work for other fashion labels and I just was a little bit sick of like being a slave for someone else. And I thought, “Let’s do something on your own.”
Do you launch your products by collection? Do you create it all by yourself?
We are trying to not think about seasonal stuff or bags or collections because I don't think that's really up to date. In our generation, the customer needs to have more collections and more changes. So, I also think our bags are not a very trendy thing. It's more like classic pieces, in my opinion. I created all by myself when I started in 2012. I had to do everything from packaging to taxes. But now, lucky me, I'm at the point that I have someone who is working with me.
And how does your process work? Do you have someone creatively workin' w/ you or do you design it all by yourself in the studio?
When it comes to the design process, I‘m the only person responsible for it. I think the first step is having some sort of inspiration. And the second step - and I guess that‘s the most important point - is to get a feeling of what your customers want to see or buy next. And then I‘ll start with just a sketch by hand, rethink it... Throw it away and do it again till‘ I‘m happy about it. After that, I’m doing the technical sketches. And also, you have to be aware that The designing of a bag, for instance, for me that part of the actual creation is a very easy process. But there are a lot of other points you have to be aware of. For example, how much the production will cost, the materials and how that also affects the design of the products.
Why did you decide to work with handmade luxury leather bags specifically?
Due to my experience with other fashion labels that produce clothes, I noticed that the sizes, fits, were too complicated. I also think that important to specialize in a specific product. Another point is that everyone, regardless of the design size, can carry a bag and feel comfortable with it.
What's the meaning of working with sustainable leather? How is the process of choosing and working with it?
As human beings, it is our responsibility to only use leather which is provided from a sustainable leather production. We only use leather that is a by-product of meat production. There's no hazardous materials being used during the tanning process.
That's true - and sometimes we don't make this connection w/ leather and sustainability.
Yeah, exactly. Because it‘s vegan. So it‘s good for everyone. I don‘t think that is always true. There‘s also a big company in the US and they‘re just producing vegan clothes and accessories. And they had a PR thing „clean the ocean“, but they are producing plastic bags. I don‘t think that‘s sustainable. The process of workin‘ w/ leather wasn‘t that hard for me because of a friend of mine. She asked me, "why is your brand not sustainable?“ - and I thought about it and I realized we just need to change a few things to be sustainable.
Are your clients mostly from Germany or from other countries as well?
No, the German market is still difficult, we could not survive if we only focused on the German market. We ship worldwide but with a focus on Europe.
What are the plans for the New Year that is beginning? Is there anything you could share with us?
There are a lot of things, but I can‘t share at this point what is coming up exactly. We want to focus more on offline experiences, because all those social media things, it‘s just too much. That doesn‘t work anymore. It‘s just working for very huge brands, but not for the smaller ones. So we want to create something different and be more connected with our costumers.