In cooperation with Bremen-based entrepreneur Jan-Marc Stührmann, the Munich designer Arwed Guderian has founded TOBAGO – creating beautiful, robust, “made in Germany” bags.
In 2016, Guderian was awarded with the German Design Award in the category ”Excellent Product Design” for one of his works, and he has displayed around Germany.
Having met him at my friend Sasha’s famous pre-Christmas brunch, I decided to interrogate the Munich-based designer further, to find out more about his latest project.
How come you chose to design bags?
Bags are a wonderful item to design. They’re functional, worn close to the body and fashionable at once – they form this intersection meeting everyday demands and hedonistic desires. I was keen to create these clear statement pieces that bear my signature.
Bags offer a remarkably broad spectrum: there are so many types and brands, and also various motives for producing and wearing bags. At the same time, you have to consider the zeitgeist. And increasingly, customers want to know the social and ecological impact of the products they use – this plays a part in purchasing a new bag.
For me, the challenge was to develop a high-quality, unisex product that is 100% made in Germany, also ensuring the fabrics we source and accessories we use are European. With waxed cotton, we can offer a high-quality alternative to plastic and leather.
Tell us a little bit more about your background.
I was accepted to study Fashion Design at Bremen’s University of the Arts. For the first three years, I studied fashion exclusively, then branched out to studying product design too. At the time, Bremen offered a unique opportunity to study in this interdisciplinary manner. During my studies I freely chose between fashion, product design and graphic art. As a result, I now work on product design too.
And can you tell us a little more about the TOBAGO bags?
The DNA of the brand is special in that it’s unobtrusively ecologically and politically correct – while retaining a hedonistic playfulness.
Some of the wax fabrics in the collection were produced in a traditional British factory, dating back to the 18th century. The colourful weavings use for the Montauk tote bag were made on historic looms in a German museum’s weaving mill.
We can guarantee the quality we want in this way. The wax fabrics are also waterproof, very robust, extremely light and at the same time they age slowly – developing a nice patina.
The bags are available to buy around Germany – including Murkudis’ BIKINI Berlin concept store, the 25Hours hotels and online.
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