Monday, 11 January 2010

Style Salvage Speaks to... Chris & Tibor

Chris&Tibor is an East London based fashion brand which has been quietly creating quality leather bags and accessories since 2006. The brand is the combined result of designer Chris Liu's quest to own the perfect gym bag and fellow partner Tibor Matyas' desire to create a comprehensive and stylish bag collection for men. The last couple of seasons have seen the label collaborate with some of the most exciting names in menswear, including Veronique Branquinho (sadly no longer with us) Juun J and Romain Kremer and providing some real catwalk highlights in the process. Their standalone AW09 collection, “The Krays Meet Teddy Boys" received a great deal of blog coverage and ever since we clapped eyes on it we wanted to know more about the label. As they enter their seventh season, 2010 looks to be an exciting year for the design duo and sees them launch their e-store, whilst continuing their collaboration project by working with Walter Van Beirendonck and even sees them turn their hand to bags for women. With this is mind, we caught up with the guys to find out more on how their accessory brand has evolved over the last few seasons and look forward to what the future will bring...

A leading image from the Aw09 look book, The Krays Meet Teddy Boys.

SS: The label evolved from Chris' seemingly simple quest for the perfect gym bag. How did this quest evolve in to the brand we see today?
Chris&Tibor: We made the first few bags mainly for ourselves in 2006 which when you think about it is not a long time ago. Despite that, the collection you see today are very different from the first one. Chris&Tibor bags have become fashion forward and creative pieces compared with the practical leather gym bags we made initially. We could not resist using and mixing some unusual materials with leather on the bags. This bravery could be a major factor as to why the label has become successful and known within the fashion industry, in a relatively short period of time. This year you will see "Back to the start" - a limited edition of bags are launching soon on our e-shop. It will be a selection of bags from our first collection with some developments and updates.

SS: What was the first and last item you remember designing?
Chris&Tibor: The first item has to be the gym bag. At the moment we are heavily working on our first bag collection for women. We are really excited about this development.

SS: How would you describe your style and your design philosophy?
Chris&Tibor: Our style is minimalist but also sophisticated, sporty but also fashionable, casual but also luxurious. The design of our bags are challenging and exclusive. If you choose to carry a Chris&Tibor bag it is a statement about who you are. But for sure, you will get lots of compliments.

SS: Do you have a typical type of person in mind when designing and if so does this evolve with each season?
Chris&Tibor: We have always designed bags that we would carry ourselves, not really thinking of anybody else during the design process. Of course we are also listening more and more to our customer feedback but ultimately, we have to love each Chris&Tibor bags we create. Designing is a personal process, it reflects upon who we are and our style.

SS: As well as your own successful line, you have collaborated with some amazing designers, for SS09 alone you worked with Juun J (and again last season), Veronique Branquinho and Romain Kremer. How important is collaboration to the label? Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
Chris&Tibor: The collaboration project started as a playful idea with a few designers who are also our personal friends. It is so much fun and really exciting to see what another designer has to say about a bag. Collaboration is a great form of development. All parties can learn a lot from one another. The bags are selling well and the collaborations have became a big part of the Chris&Tibor branding strategy. For this season there is a brand new collaboration with Walter Van Beirendonck. The bags are part of Walter's ready to wear collection and will be showing at Paris Fashion Week. The dream list for future collaborations is rather endless but it includes brands like Adam Kimmel, Tim Hamilton, Damir Doma, and Robert Geller. We are also thinking about some womenswear designers and some fashion shops too. Apart from collaborations with fashion designers, there are projects coming up this year which see us collaborate with a music band and an illustration artist.

A fine piece from their SS10 line, the Milton Court. A multi pocket shoulder holdall teaming up Italian vegetable and patent leather.

SS: Your are tightly linked to East London, living and designing there and even naming your designs after streets, areas and buildings in the area. What makes the area so special to you?
Chris&Tibor: East London is where Chris&Tibor brand was born. Just this fact would make the area special and memorable for us. But East London is an interesting location, it is just so fun to live and work. Diverse, creative and never dull. East London has so much history and a bright future!

SS: In recent years there has undoubtedly been an increased interest and demand for bags in men's fashion. However, do you, like us, cringe at the terms bandied about in the press though, for example murse, manbag etc? How do you see the demand evolving over the next few years?
Chris&Tibor: As you said there has been a huge interest and demand for bags for men in recent years. To serve this sudden interest, lots of new accessory collection labels have come from nowhere. Plus if you look around almost all the ready to wear labels have got their own accessory collections by now. This will of course affect the next few years. There is no such thing as endless demand. The men's accessory market is over crowded today, if you are looking to buy a bag, you have got plenty of choice.

SS: What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men wore?
Chris&Tibor: A trench coat

SS: What bag did you carry with you today? What was inside it?
Chris&Tibor: "Moorgate" backpack, a really cool and exclusive piece from the Chris&Tibor collection. It comes in a lots of variations, but mine is black leather contrast with black/silver film. I carried my gym stuff.

The Moorgate backpack from their AW09 collection

SS: If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
Chris & Tibor: Naomi Campbell falling on the runway in Paris. As she was not hurt in the end, it must have been fun to watch :)

SS: Have you got any recommendation that you'd like to share with our readers? (shops, hairdressers, designers, websites, bars)
Chris & Tibor: Billingsgate fish market is great fun on Saturday morning and if you are shopping there it would keep you occupied until lunch, The Narrow Boat's balcony overlooking the Regent Canal on sunny weekends and the Lemon Monkey fine food shop in Stoke Newington.

SS: Now this is your chance to ask yourself and answer the one question you wish you had been asked but have never had the opportunity to do so.
Q to Chris: What would you do if you are not running Chris&Tibor brand?
Chris: I would be a farmer.

SS: Finally, what exciting things are on the horizon for Chris & Tibor? What can you tell us about next season?
Chris & Tibor: The most exciting thing is our e-shop. We have been doing wholesales in the past seven seasons and we realised that there is no future in fashion without a mono brand store. We see the e-shop as a first step towards our own retail outlet. We hope one day soon we can talk about the opening of the first Chris&Tibor shop in London.

Walter Van Beirendonck is the latest cult designer label for Chris&Tibor Collaboration Project.

To celebrate the launch of their official Facebook page, Chris&Tibor are offering their fans a chance to win a black "Spitalfields" tote made of Italian leather. For more information and for your chance to win please visit their blog.


valentines day sms said...

i like your article it is too good and pictures also good...

J said...

This is the first I've heard about this label but their bags look really great. I like the mixing of leather.

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