What's behind OWNEVER's bags that transcend generations.
In the industry nowadays, many brands are born of people’s desires to make a difference in the world. This is why Eliana Barros first thought of the ethical, authentic accessory brand OWNEVER.
“It was just a mix of my personal beliefs with my desire of creating something durable that lasted more than myself, that could tell a different story, that was more than just an Instagram picture.”
For her, creating timeless products that will last a lifetime is a means not only to make a difference in rampant consumerism but also to work with responsibly sourced raw materials, like leather, for long-lasting pieces.
Reflecting on how people have been leading ephemeral lives, OWNEVER’s sustainable core focuses on building an enduring legacy, valuing quality over quantity.
“I feel that today social media made people greedy for novelties. I understand novelty, but I don’t understand irresponsible gestures. We always have a choice, we can buy more, or we can buy better. And we all know that is not the quantity that brings us long-term joy.
With designs that have no expiration date, Barros created a handbag to fight gender inequality that comes with a 135-year warranty. Thinking of a better and more equal future, the designer named the piece 2157, the year when equal pay between men and women will be possible.
We, unfortunately, won’t even be here anymore, but we know 2157 will be passed down for generations to reach the year 2157 as good as new – or even better, as we know leather patina only improves with age.
“Great materials, the simplicity of the design, and good construction are a big part of 2157 longevity. The other part is that we offer to repair all our handbags, and in this case, it’s free of charge.”
In an exclusive chat with the brand’s founder, Eliana shares how the choice of materials plays a great role in bringing her designs to life and what women inspire her to do what she does best.
Get some insights into her creative mind.
How do you choose and what features factor in when you select the materials and processes that will be used to bring to life the pieces you design?
It’s about the entire process: From the original idea to how we can offer our customer a solution to prolongate the lifecycle of the handbag. Designing, material picking, construction, and after buying program.
"It’s a balance dance between what we envisioned with the best we can do for the world."
We need to consider the different types of components that go into a bag creation, it's not just the material – sometimes, we need to compromise on the design, because in the end, to get a certain design, we would need to use chemicals or stiffeners that are totally unsustainable, and these would make the handbag the idealized design but non-biodegradable.
What challenges did you have to face for being a woman in the industry?
Until today, I can’t say that my journey has been harder than my counterparts, but that’s because I have had the privilege of having amazing suppliers and artisans who share the same beliefs as I do. Nevertheless, this business sector is still dominated by men, and it remains much more difficult for a woman to assert herself – the numbers speak for themselves.
"Despite women-led companies being safer for investors and generating more profit, startups founded by women, that have this profile of social responsibility, receive less funding."
Do you tend to look at any work done especially by women as inspiration for your creations? Who are these artists and why are they important to your creative process?
One of my latest inspirations is the weaving women artists from Bauhaus, a movement that I personally love. Most of us know the men artists that came out of the Bauhaus school. But very few know the talented women that were pushed into weaving because the school had a bias based on the philosophy that women only thought in two dimensions.
And even though amazing women broke this bias like the incredible Marianne Brandt, I still really admire Gunta Stölzl's weaving art, because she made the weaving Bauhaus school a reference and made weaving a relevant art. So, our next OWNEVER handbag will be very much inspired by her work.
Meet more creatives that use their designs to make a stand here.