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Combinable and Sustainable: in conversation with Elba Concept

Combinable and Sustainable: in conversation with Elba Concept

The work of Elba Concept is pure vanguard. Created by the creative communion of Dina Ding and Thierry Baschmakoff, Elba Concept bags are customizable products made by the combination of several pieces put together. With Elba Concept, using such a contemporary and unforgettable accessory becomes even more fun.

It soon came to them that the shape taken by the materials implied looked like an elephant. The name Elba Concept comes from the never-ending inspiration that this animal brings. Nowadays, elephants are afflicted by several dangers that put their species at risk, and that’s exactly what this brand is trying to prevent, after all, from the will to protect the animals, comes the pledge of a more sustainable sourcing as well. Elba concept is distinguished by the use of carefully sourced and ethical materials thanks to innovative technological solutions which we spoke about together in this interview.

Elba Concept presented us a product that changes according to the different necessities of modern life, an on-going transformation from the inside out.

What is the philosophy behind Elba Concept? What does the name come from?

Elba was born during a series of discussions between Dina Ding and Thierry de Baschmakoff, two designers who had known each other for several years and whose common dream was to create a new concept in modular design thus giving birth to a new generation of leather goods. During the creative process while researching the most appropriate shapes to embody the concept it become apparent, with some imagination, that the components of the bag when flat and unassembled on a table looked mysteriously like the head of an elephant.

This representation appeared very naturally and became the logo of the brand. The brand’s name (Elephant Bag Concept abbreviated to Elba Concept) is also derived from this auspicious coincidence. And, as ELBA Concept has borrowed its name from the elephant, the brand considers the defense of these endangered species as a duty.

The peculiarity of this bag resides in its customizable shapes according to the consumers’ needs and space. How did you come up with this innovative design?

Our concept aims to facilitate the work of assembling a handbag: reduce handling, facilitate manual manufacturing operations and allow the use of different materials to expand the product range. Working in two dimensions offers more freedom in terms of customization, using less storage volume and therefore having a favorable environmental impact during transportation since packing is highly efficient. It opens the possibility to create using innovative materials or those intended to be recycled.

What are the materials you use the most? How can you achieve material-sourcing in an ethical and sustainable way?

We usually use leather sourced from top quality reliable suppliers. The simple point is that with minimum additions our bag can change shape and colors (in multiple combinations) which is a form of modular recycling while maintaining the excitement of the new.
The selection of materials and the assembling process guarantees a very durable product (while allowing the possibility to make your bag continually evolve). We can also manufacture very small series that will allow use of short-lived materials or which were originally intended for recycling.

Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs on how to start sustainable sourcing for their brand?

Today’s fast-moving world with its explosion of data and information requires a very clear grasp of digital technology and marketing methods. There has been a complete change from the tools used by previous generations of entrepreneurs and the today’s reality is changing rapidly so constant attention is required with the capacity to adapt and integrate new technology and concept. Sustainability is key but it has many facets so what is important is to define its relationship to your particular brand and product.

What are the challenges of promoting this product in a world where the new seems to be still wanted, especially amongst customers more loyal to luxury brands offering new collections each season?

The concept which gives rise to Elba is that the world requires a new type of product that with minimal waste and space can adapt to the varying needs of humans in the different moments, places and situations of an individual’s life.

The resulting product has limitless combinations thus integrating multiple needs into one solution. It can be transported flat and with many components (with the resulting myriad of possible combinations of shape, color, materials). These endless possibilities at one’s hand are vastly superior, and more adapted to the realities of modern life than the endless collections of luxury products displayed each season by the well-known brands (which just accumulate in closets).

Elba is alive and changes with its user. Elba is the modern incarnation of affordable luxury redefined by what is ethically compatible with using resources in today’s world. It is designed to be a digital brand and our challenge is to get people who really care to know our unique offering.

Have you ever thought to expand your product category to dresses as well? Thinking about assembling your own piece of design seems intriguing!

That’s a good question, we were even thinking about how also use a bag as a dress, since the component parts of our bag can be also used separately on our bodies. It’s an exciting idea we are trying to incorporate into future collections.

courtesy o Portrait of designers Dina Ding & Thierry de Baschmakoff | ©Anna Duschl Fotografie

Do you have any upcoming projects for the future you would like to share with us?

Revolution in a bag is not just one product or model! Our next collection Mini ELBA will be launched shortly, will use more exotic material and colors, prints etc. We are truly excited to design each new collection to include a wide variety of novel options, designs and actually to give a new experience to our clients, always remaining true to the spirit of our founding concept.


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