Meeting Christiane Smit and diving into her minimal world, all wrapped in fine leather, was a great pleasure. As the industry is full of wanna-be ‘hand crafted’ products, Christiane creates leather bags the old fashioned traditional way…using her hands. As she said to an exclusive interview with Netrobe what she loves about fashion is that one can be surrounded by creative, common minded people who inspire one another.
She begun her career in retailing as a store manager in Reflect Fashion, the avant garde fashion destination of Amsterdam, where she travelled to Paris and Milan to attend the fashion shows of the Japanese designers Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons and also selected the collection in the showrooms, which was like travelling in creativity. At some point in her life, she leaves Amsterdam as the Greek sun steals her heart. She moves to Cyclades, in the beautiful island of Paros where good time and coincidences open a new path for her.
A seamstress she meets, gives her some spare pieces of leather and the magic begins. She creates her first bag by just using her hands and inspiration, which she sells immediately. That was when she decided to start making handcrafted leather bags, to combine her passion for fashion as well as to express her creativity and personal taste.
Determined to perfection, she travels to Italy, Spain, and Portugal to smell, touch and buy the best quality of leather for her small scale production. Regardless of the current trends, her criteria of choosing her material are based on softness, usability, quality and colour. The thin goat skin and the dark brown shrunken lamb leather are among her favorites.
In her white, minimal studio in Paros, she creates different models of bags that can be used from day till night, with enough space and inner pockets, sewed only by hand with a vision…for women to embrace her designs. She loves stitching every detail and in her world no bag is the same with another. Every eight months, she presents a new model but her whole collection is classic and her products customized to fit her demanding clientele’s different needs. Her customer can choose the colour of leather on a predetermined design.
Her logo was inspired by a design she created for a ring. She is not using a name as her signature is her own creation and that’s what makes her work distinct and authentic. Drawing her inspiration from watching people in their everyday lives, from old movies like the Death in Venice, from Spanish and Turkish music and from fine vintage items. Her favorite bloggers are Garance Dore and the Aegean Pan.
Excited by her work and passion, we wish her the best of luck and we are certain that creative people with a vision have a lot to contribute to the fashion industry.
Photo Credits: Michael Salis