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Ecsotype Bags

by Fiona Killackey in Style on 31 July 2007

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Created by Melbourne-based design duo, Christian and Sabine Pound, Ecsotype is the label behind some of the most functional (and good-looking) bags the world has ever witnessed. "Ecsotype is about justifying every idea and creation by its originality" says French-born Sabine, "It's about building from the ground up (our products feel more like engineering projects to use) and the thrill of looking for the right balance of uniqueness, intelligent function and 'never-before-seen' form. It's about extending the idea of customization beyond colorways and into 'rigging.'" Christian adds, "There are several ways to lace a shoe…why not several ways to rig a bag?" Passionate, excited and, above all else, skilled in their craft the Pounds have made a name for themselves since the inception of Ecsotype in 2004 via quality stockists, international press and the recent introduction of an online store. "We live for the excitement that each new idea brings" says Christian, "and for the process to materialize into something worth being excited and passionate about." CH caught up with the dynamic designers to chat about custom-made zips, book bags and house keys.

When, how and why did you start?
We started in 2004 with one idea, a messenger bag that would be assembled from parts. We thought there was something really interesting and unique in it [so] we set about having it made. We waited nine months for custom-made zips (that are so bizarre they are just not useful to anyone else but us!), stitched dozens of prototypes ourselves and visited a few manufacturers. Some manufacturers refused to have anything to do with Ecsotype but the brave took it on and suffered the whole way through! We don't work by season. We add to our catalog approximately every six weeks and keep all our products available to purchase.

The Book bag [pictured] is truly original. How did you come up with the idea and why the name?
Our first four products relied on zips to join each component. We wanted to approach construction in a different way. With Book the components slide or snap in place. Its dimensions are based on a small paper bag that was about A4. The idea for it started as a new version for another product but developed so strongly it ended up standing on its own.

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Our product names are a result of playing word-association games. It's an old idea but one that has some power to convey our mindset when we created them.

Describe it in just one line.
Looking like it's wearing suspenders is reason enough to take it home but it will also hold all your things for you.

Given your locality in the world, how did you get the word out about it?
We are still a little bit of a secret. It's always hard, especially selling a pricey product that is inherently expensive to design and manufacture. Equal parts luck and determination. We have a publicist, we advertise a little and are talked about a little. We rely in part on the probability that new and (hopefully) unique products generate their own publicity by virtue of being different.

What do you keep in your own bag? if you spilled it out right now what would we see?
Car and house keys, gum, four pens, A7 notepad, bottle of hand cleaning gel (having lived in Paris made it a staple), black woolen hat, grey gloves, Eucalyptus tissues, wallet, blue 2007 agenda, assortment of bobby-pins, lip-gloss, paracetamol tablets and a book.

What do you believe are the ingredients for quality design?
Simplicity, discipline and one passionate idea you don't want to compromise.

If you could improve the Book bag in any way, how would you do it?
Design all the hardware and produce it in stainless steel [and] use only custom-made embossed Italian leather. Check it regularly—we mean it!

How do we buy one?
You can buy Book through our online online store for $330 (€240, AUS$375). We ship internationally. Email any questions to customer-service[at]ecsotype[dot]com. We're very happy to help.

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