To be WORN, radical & minimal: Q&A with designer and founder
Leathercraft that gives a second life for every piece. TO BE WORN, LIVED & REINVENTED.
With unique perspectives, WORN is a Geneva brand that since 2015 has taken the classics and given them a fresh twist. Its "radical & minimal" approach gives space for universal pieces. That's why you can't point out where the creations come from: WORN is collective.
The brand doesn't have a face or a one & only creative director that represents their concepts. Their core is teamwork, collaborations & exchange, turning WORN signature recognizable for what they put into the world — not for the story of whoever is the ship captain.
Their reinterpretation of ancestral leathercraft techniques gives the handmade creations an instant vibrant and contemporary vibe. The creative work done in Geneva becomes a reality in Switzerland & Italy, joining the Swiss definition of quality (transparency & traceability) and Italian highest leather quality.
For a glimpse of their philosophy & leathery input on everyday objects, we chatted with designer & founder of WORN, Magda. SO GRAB YOUR THINKING HAT & JOIN US. 🧙♀️
What was your inspiration to build Worn with such a powerful purpose & a distinct message from the beginning?
As its name implies, WORN considers that in fashion the past accompanies us as much as the present. From the beginning, we don’t pretend to innovate, but to reinterpret the ancestral leathercraft techniques into contemporary details. The strongest innovation of the product lies in uniting design, art, and craftsmanship. We have our own interpretation of the traditional finishing and we transpose it to the contemporary context. In every collection, WORN reinterprets and reuses the basics everyone owns, knows, and uses: plastic, shoe, and freezer bags, envelopes, etc., giving them a second life by leathercraft and artisanal work.
How did your background in the industry, working for big names like Hermés & Hussein Chalayan, influence you to reinterpret leathercraft in fresh & contemporary aesthetics?
Hermès and Chalayan are the monuments that have had a major impact on defining our design vision.
Hermès has become synonymous with excellence; it is quality and savoir-faire beyond the norm. Chalayan, with its conceptual approaches and varied fields of reference, is one of the most forward-thinking designers.
We have learned from our previous experiences that constant research and questioning object functionality and material is the way to search for a new aesthetic. We apply this formula to our interpretation of leather craftsmanship.
In what ways does this BG knowledge of luxury leatherwork help build the state-of-the-art look to your products, like the container concept?
The knowledge of luxury leatherwork gives us the freedom to use this material in a very spontaneous and creative way. From 2017, inspired by everyday objects, WORN has built a radical vision of bag - called: bag-like object. New appellation allows us to transgress the rules of traditional bag conception to design the objects with reinvented functionality and aesthetics. We don’t pretend to innovate but to reinterpret the well-known containers by mixing contemporary design with traditional leather techniques.
WORN is like a manifesto for the beauty of simplicity. But, there’s also a lot of individuality behind each design. How does leather give you the freedom to experiment that way without compromising the visuals?
We talk about the beauty of simplicity because our pieces are "radical and minimal", we avoid cuts, ornaments, seams, and all decorative elements. The "simplest" pieces are thought out with precision and the most difficult to make, they require a lot of technicality and development. We love it when people ask us: how are your bags made? There is magic in all of this.
"LEATHER IS A CHALLENGE , but it also allows us to be very creative and inventive. The individuality of our creations comes from the solutions we have found during the development process and is expressed through our radical monochrome collections, art direction, and brand image."
Your leather of choice comes from Switzerland & Italy, places known for making high-quality, more sustainable leather. Why is it important to know the origin of your material of choice in a time when sustainability is such a necessity?
The origin of the materials we use is of primary importance to us: before founding the brand, we traveled several times to Tuscany to visit the various tanneries and to talk about their products, processes and working conditions.
We are very happy because we work with people who share the same vision of manufacturing with respect for humans and the environment.
Sustainability has come naturally to us from the beginning, it was one of the reasons why we set up our project. Now, it has become an emergency for the industry.
"IN 2020, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT SUSTAINABILITY SHOULD BE PART OF THE DNA OF ANY FASHION BRAND AND NOT ONLY A MARKETING TREND."
What other environmentally-friendly concepts are you applying to your leatherwork?
Our main concept is artisanal, local manufacturing processes. We produce in limited quantities to eliminate overproduction, and all our accessories are hand-made locally in our studio based in Geneva. Each object is made by a single artisan from a to z. All our leathers come from certified tanneries and are dyed and tanned using non-toxic processes.
"We consider leather to be one of the most durable material, it is a heritage."
We offer our customers a large after-sales care and repair service and use all the leftover material to produce the small leather accessories, plus, all our packaging is made from recycled materials."
In what ways do you think this mix of slow fashion + luxury leatherwork helps you rethink the future as well?
For us, the future lies in conscious choices, conscious use of materials, conscious production, and conscious purchasing. WORN is based on the principle that craftsmanship has its place in modern design can finally be recognized. We do not make accessories for everyone. We have a loyal group of collectors/consumers who share the same vision. Our vision is to integrate craftsmanship with an artistic approach to make the accessories timeless.
Now a light one: what was the weirdest or most unexpected epiphany you've ever applied to a design?
Roses, Lilacs, Orchids, and Smocked Cushion Bag. All made in leather for our collaboration with the designer Neith Nyer for his fashion show. We also made leather sanitary napkins for an International Women's Day!
Basic needs but make them bold 🛁.
Dive into the craft of more [metcha originals] exclusives at the same place as usual.