Upcycling Leather, A Minimalist Approach | EDGE Talks to Christina Fischer

Among all the brands out there, it’s a challenge to stand out and not give in to consumerism, sales and discount here and there. In my opinion, this devalues a brand. – Christina Fischer

Courtesy of Christina Fischer, christina-fischer-quilted-box-bag-copyChristina Fischer is a creative and passionate individual from Denmark that has thought of an innovative idea to upcycle leather goods and re-purpose them to make trans-seasonal bags.  These bags will not only go with everything you own but also last and gives this discarded leather a longer life cycle [keeping it out of the landfill].  The CHRISTINA FISCHER bags are not only creatively crafted, but their minimalistic design make them versatile and the perfect fashion accessories.  Staying true to her Scandinavian roots, Christina provides a minimal yet aesthetically pleasing look to her products and brand that attracts e conscious yet style conscious individuals.   

Christina talks about the ‘why’, the ‘how’, and the possibilities of her sustainable design practice.

Christina, how do you shift consumer behavior to make recycling leather accessories the norm?

I truly believe that good design is an essential part of recycling.   I never compromise on craftsmanship or aesthetics, and I try to be as sustainable as possible throughout my entire company.  My aim is to create trans-seasonal bags with longevity and life cycle in mind. By keeping branding and products very minimal and aesthetically pleasing, makes the fact that all my bags are made from recycled leather, an added bonus.

Any challenges to creating recycled goods from discarded materials and managing the business?

I’m not a schooled fashion designer, which is probably a big advantage when working with discarded materials.  I’m not restricted by the rules of fashion design. Through the past 7 years of working with recycled leather, I have learned that when working with your hands instead of your head, the possibilities are endless.  That said – being limited by your materials is obviously a challenge, when buying leather garments I constantly have to keep the different sizes of my patterns in mind versus the pattern on the garment.

Being a first time business owner, it is a lot of learning whilst doing, it takes a lot of self-discipline and organization to run a business, and at times it can be a bit challenging. Yet I’m so passionate about my work which at the end of the day makes it all worth it.

Since the launch of your first collection in 2015, were there any struggles that you encountered in establishing your label?

Starting a fashion label itself is quite the struggle and it being a one woman show.  I constantly have to stay on top of everything.  It gets extra challenging when you run into an obstacle you, by any means, are not prepared to deal with.

In the early part of 2016 , I was unfortunate to find myself in the middle of a copy case, where my signature quilting had been used. Most of my collection was based on this quilting, not doing anything was out of the question – having to hire a lawyer, stand up for myself and what I had created.  This was all very time-consuming, time I would have rather spent running my business.  Thus far I would say this has been the biggest obstacle I have stumbled upon. Yet it has taught me the importance of design protection and I would encourage all young designers when creating something original to know their rights and protect their designs.

Do you travel to the specific charity shops that are locally around you in Europe or do you have them shipped to you and why?

I travel to various destination around the EU, mainly Germany, Sweden and of course Denmark. I hand select every single leather garment used to create CHRISTINA FISCHER bags. I’m very picky when it comes to choosing materials.  I never purchase a leather garment unless I can use 70% of the leather. It is also incredibly important that I use similar pattern leather so I can match different kind of leathers, as this minimizes my waste.Courtesy of Christina Fischer, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Who is your consumer, Christina? What is your means of communicating to that audience and do you find challenges?

I target econscious yet style conscious people, but also lovers of fashion who appreciate craftsmanship and minimalist design. I mainly use social media, it’s a great way to communicate direct to consumer. Amongst all the brands out there it’s a challenge to stand out and not give in to consumerism, sales and discount here and there. In my opinion this devalues a brand.

How effective is social media for you?

Had it not been for social media, I wouldn’t have been able to start my own label. Actually it all started with social media.  Originally I was just making bags for myself but it quickly caught a lot of attention. I spend a lot of time creating content for social media, I aim to inspire and be as transparent as I possibly can. Now – two years later it drives 80% of my business.

Do you favor any of your collections our pieces? Tell us more about your limited edition collection.

The bumbag is my original piece, not only is it my favourite bag to make but also my favourite bag to wear. It is versatile and can be styled in so many ways, it’s super practical yet chic, you always have your hands free and it fits all your everyday essentials.

My limited collection happens when I’m out buying materials, sometimes I’m lucky to find some beautiful coloured leather and suede, I’m only able to make a number of bags per garment. This is a great way to create some exclusive limited edition and one of of a kind pieces that still ties into my main collection.

Congratulations Christina Fischer!  EDGE applauds your sustainable re-design concept and wishes you continued success.

Photo Credits: Photographer, Niklas Hoejlund | Model, Celine Couppé, Le Management | Hair and Makeup, Vivi Soederholm, Agentur CPH | Styling and Clothes, Christina Fischer.

Read more interviews on emerging designers and brands at EDGE Radar.


Cindy Ceballos