As soon as a new gizmo hits—I'm looking at you, iPad—the design world races to kit it out with sleek accessories. Yes, I'm all for protecting my precious laptop or tablet or swanky phone, but rarely does a quality-made case get to market at the same time as the object it's supposed to house or preserve. Which means that for a really hot iPad sleeve, you'll have to wait a little bit before a great one arrives. Thankfully, the Colombian bag makers at Hasso hit the retail scene last year with their excellent laptop and iPad sleeves, the Sabino and the Aldo. The Daza, which I really like, has only been available since December 2011. Design Director Nicholas Hurtado walks me through.
When did the various sleeves—the Daza, Aldo, and Sabino—debut?
Aldo and Sabino debuted in 2010. Both were part of our first collection along with the Domingo Backpack. Though they were showed in 2010 they finally hit stores in 2011. Daza was presented for first time at the Project tradeshow in New York last summer; it has been available for sale since December 2011.
Did you always set out to make smaller goods like these when you launched the brand? Or are they an extension of the bag making that seems so central to Hasso?
Basically we like to consider the line as a whole. Since day one we wanted to make objects that complemented each other depending on their uses. For example, the Domingo backpack was first thought as a weekender bag and the Valero messenger bag as a more office-ready product. Sleeves and smaller goods are key to us because they allow us to present our brand to customers who may not be interested in the bags at first. Several of our customers initially tried an iPad sleeve. They usually check the quality and after one or two months they come back and buy a bag. So in that sense smaller goods are also central to us because they give us the opportunity to introduce the brand to a wider audience.
Where do you source the materials for the sleeves?
We only use local materials. Many people don’t know it but Colombia has a strong textile and leather heritage. The majority of the leather production in the country is exported due to its great quality. We are able to get our hands on some of Colombia's finest leather. We mainly use vegetable tanned leather and 100% cotton canvases. Our manufacturing processes involve more than 50 skilled Colombian artisans who have been working with leather and tailoring since before we were born. We would like to commit to Colombian manufacturing and materials for as long as we can.
Tell me about the inspiration for the Daza sleeve. It almost feels like a giant wallet.
You are certainly right about that! The Daza sleeve began with the aesthetic of very old military pouches in mind. As a matter of fact they do look like oversized wallets, they were very useful because they worked as an extension of pockets. We did our take on this concept but with a modern device. However, this is funny because we have seen people using it for holding documents or like a small travel bag to carry passports and that kind of stuff. In that sense it's very much like the old concept of a “pocket extension” or a "big wallet." We are very curious about other uses of the Daza.
The Aldo and Sabino seem to have a more futuristic look than the classic design of the Daza. Maybe the onrush of technology was a point of departure. Can you talk about the aesthetic inspiration for these two?
Sabino's design was influenced by the materials, specifically nylon canvas. Nylon is a more technical and sporty material than cotton so we translated that to the overall design. I wouldn’t call it futuristic but is definitely not as classic as the Daza. Maybe the brightness and feel of a nylon canvas make it look like a more contemporary object. In contrast to nylon, cotton canvases and fabrics have been used for centuries, so I believe this increases the feeling of a classic aesthetic— almost like if they have always existed.
Any new sleeves like this or smaller goods we should look out for in the near future?
You bet! A new all-leather Daza will be released soon; the Cano iPad sleeve will also be launched in new color combinations. We are working on card cases, wallets and belts. They all will be presented during the Capsule tradeshow in New York this summer.