As you might already know, Studio Fraenck is our partner for the production of the Zaino. In this post, we want to dig a bit deeper into our partnership and give you and ourselves some more insight into who we are working with.
Working with Studio Fraenck is a great experience for us; a source of inspiration and a company we can learn a lot from. Their journey as a company; founding a social enterprise, an impact first strategy, and craftsmanship they love and share. What's not to love?
We interviewed three key figures in the process of creating the Zaino: Mohammed, Elsbeth, and Ratna. Located in Arnhem, Simon dropped by at the studio & shop to have a chat and drink a cup of coffee/tea.
The production and development of the backpack is a team effort. We interviewed three people, but want thank the whole team for their hard work. Thank you 🙏.
Source of inspiration
Our first contact with studio Fraenck was a meeting between Stef, Simon, and Ratna. From the get-go, you know this is someone who knows her stuff. Ratna helped us get going on the conceptual and technical aspects of the Zaino.
After she studied fashion at ArtEZ in Arnhem, followed up by a master's degree at Central Saint Martins in London (“The Harvard for fashion”), she founded Studio Fraenck together with Pascal in 2018.
What makes our partnership worth your time and effort?
What I appreciate is that you understand and respect that everyone in the value chain has to earn their keep (wages and rent to be paid) and let us know how much you value what we bring to your product. Craftsmanship and the required time are things that you don’t want to cut short on. Also, it might sound silly but what we care about is the people behind a brand - not just making a cool product.
How does the Zaino fit in with your concept?
The overlap in our vision on sustainability. Being a sustainable company is often reduced to material use. Is it recycled, how much do you use? Of course these questions matter, but the social side of sustainability of often overlooked, it takes time and effort to invest in a highly skilled workforce and to realize good work conditions. Lastly, without a fair price, it would be impossible to continue what we are doing (bargain pricing is a primary reason for us to not work together).
Then there is your good design and functionality. The Zaino requires the craftsmanship and focus our best people can deliver. Throughout the production process because of its symmetry, no step can be skipped, the order can not be changed easily - you would notice it in the result. Most of our designs are less complex than this, your design almost makes me a bit envious /hehe/. It’s challenging in a fun way, worth a big smile once each end product is finished.
Impact first. Making a positive impact on society is the first priority. Profits are the means to make it happen, not the goal.
Always in control
In our day-to-day contact with we work with Elsbeth. She has her roots in a small village near the German border. From there Elsbeth started her fashion education in Zutphen where she met Ratna during an internship. After Ratna and Pascal founded Studio Fraenck they contacted Elsbeth with the question if she wanted to join the team.
Without Elsbeth, we would not be where we are today (this will become obvious in about 1 minute!)
What is your role at Studio Fraenck?
We have a mix of people working at Studio Fraenck, for example; study-work combinations, internships from fashion school, and people who come here to learn Dutch (by being around Dutch speakers during work). Some of them are here temporarily, some stay and get a contract. I mainly help/coach the people working in the studio. Keeping track of the planning, having contact with our customers, and making sure we continue production so we finish in time.
That’s a lot to handle! What makes you like it?
Mostly how you see everyone grow. Some people who come here never touched a sewing machine, you see them flourish once they get going. That’s the best. Also, it’s so great to have so many unique people from different cultures together.
And for the backpack specifically, are there things you dislike?
Actually no, it’s a product that we can make as a team. Everyone can contribute because there is so much to do: burning mesh, pre-stitching, assembling clips, etcetera. It brings us together to work on a good-looking backpack.
It's great to have people like Elsbeth to convey the powerfull values of Studio Fraenck: to be social, inclusive and sustainable.
Mohammed (Mo) is the main man when it comes to the production of the Zaino. Besides being a cool guy, he brings the focus and expert stitching that’s needed to produce a high-end product.
Mo was born and raised in Syria where he was a tailor for men, women, and children since he was 16. Roughly three years ago Mo got to the Netherlands and found an awesome base at Studio Fraenck in Arnhem (to see more of Mo, click here).
What gives you energy in life?
That’s a tricky question to answer. But making something complex, and finishing it with the highest standards is what I like.
Is working on the backpack something you enjoy, why?
I love that it’s a lot of work for each backpack, with all the parts and details. Because of this, we have to work on it as a team.
Is there a specific part that’s challenging?
All the pockets, because of the stretch in the material and the elastic bands.
To celebrate transparancy and honor craftsmenship Fraenck is using the hashtag #WhoMadeYourClothes - we would like to add #WhoMadeYourGear.
Thanks for reading,