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August 31, 2023

Interview with the creative minds behind Eskandur

Step into the world of luxury craftsmanship, sustainable fashion, and artistic innovation as we delve deep into the captivating narrative of Eskandur. In this exclusive interview, we have the privilege of conversing with the creative minds behind this remarkable brand, Julien and Gabriela. From humble childhood inspirations to the fusion of aerospace engineering and fashion, their journey is nothing short of extraordinary.

Eskandur’s inception story unfolds, revealing a passion for perfection, sustainability, and a commitment to doing things differently. The brand’s dedication to crafting timeless pieces is illuminated through their meticulous attention to detail, from the world’s first luxury aprons to the premium Garment Bag.

The interview gracefully navigates through Eskandur’s philosophy, tackling challenges within the fashion sector, transparency, and the power of narrative in connecting with their audience. With a finger on the pulse of modern luxury, Julien and Gabriela share their unique perspective on staying true to their vision amidst shifting trends.

Is it true that your fashion début began as a child when you made drawings on your sister’s body to design your first dress ?

Gabriela: Oh, absolutely. I’ve always had this fascination with fashion, and you know, my parents had this incredible way of dressing that just captivated me. They’d show up at my school in these amazing outfits that were unlike anything anyone else wore in our neighborhood. I remember feeling quite bored during those early years, and one day it hit me – I wanted to dress up my sister. So, I took some of my mom’s fabrics and drawn on her body! Then, she put the skirt on, and I was the happiest kid on the planet! That’s when the spark ignited, and I’ve been designing ever since. From making things for my sister and friends, to eventually becoming an architect and working on luxurious homes designs – the journey’s been quite a ride.

What was it like growing up in a french rural hamlet, and how did being aerospace engineer go down there?

Julien: It’s quite a unique story, to be honest. I’m proud having grown up in this French village you know. Life had a certain simplicity and closeness to nature. I’ve always had a diverse set of interests, which made me see life from various angles. I spent years contributing to the development of a business jet, right from conceptualization to the first flight test vehicle. It’s interesting because I now possess as much knowledge about aerospace engineering as I do about organic farming! It’s this intriguing blend of skills that adds a layer of excitement to life. I’m inherently a traveler, a tango dancer, a passionate for leather crafting and having these hidden talents allows me to pleasantly surprise people in unexpected ways.

What inspired the inception of Eskandur, and how does the brand’s unique vision resonate with today’s luxury market?

Julien: The inception of Eskandur was driven by our desire to do things right, to create a positive impact. Our focus on perfecting both design and sustainability was paramount. We aimed to be more than just a brand; we wanted to contribute meaningfully. Our journey began with a clear and refined design approach, avoiding any patchwork gimmicks. This led us to cowhides due to their substantial size. However, cowhide comes with thickness and weight challenges. We innovated by slicing the hides to a mere 1/32″ thickness. As we evolved, our designs and the “One size fits all” concept pushed us to incorporate multiple parts, held together with straps and the required size adjustments. And then came the pivotal decision – no visible back stitches or leather undersides. We opted for full leather lining. This dedication to detail and innovation defines Eskandur’s unique identity in today’s luxury landscape.

Even in your most structured aprons, there’s always a poetry of the body. That seems to be something that’s very important to you?

Gabriela: Absolutely, it’s a crucial aspect for me. I believe in fostering a creative dialogue. Each design conveys a unique narrative on how it’s meant to be worn, almost like a journey through different eras. The tactile experience of the leather can evoke vivid imaginations and stories, making the connection between the wearer and the design even more profound.

Which artists inspire you the most?

Gabriela: De Heem, Kadinsky, Yves Klein, Tadao Ando. I like to go to the roots of things.

Where can we find the best inspiration about sustainable fashion?

Gabriela: Inspiration is all around us as designers. It’s about finding beauty in the unexpected, in the everyday. But it’s equally important to stay attuned to the larger cultural context you’re a part of. If you’re disconnected from it, your designs won’t resonate. Personally, I’m an avid reader and consumer of various media like websites, newsletters, podcasts, and books. Some sources that consistently intrigue me include literary and non-fiction books, and I make it a point to explore museums whenever I’m in a new city. The Guggenheim, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, and Museo Tamayo in Mexico City are a few favorites that have left a lasting impact on me.

What are the main problems you see in the fashion sector today?

Julien: Transparency emerges as a significant challenge. For too long, larger brands have distanced themselves from the accountability of their supply chains. They’ve overlooked the responsibility of ensuring the standards of their contractors and sub-contractors. However, this must change. It’s crucial that every brand takes ownership of their impact, both human and environmental. Currently, this process remains complex. Even small designers often lack insight into the origins of their materials. On the other hand, big brands fear disrupting their financial standings or acknowledging their historical responsibilities. Although their websites boast state-of-the-art communication, true transparency requires a deeper commitment to accountability and sustainability.

I think Eskandur operates outside of the realm of what is popular and trending in fashion currently. If you agree, and with this sentiment in mind, why do you think your brand has taken off and received as much press as it has?

Julien: I believe it’s rooted in our narrative and the emotional resonance that Eskandur carries. The ancestral workmanship, the historical narrative and the use of materials connect with people in a distinctive way, setting us apart from most other brands. This unique approach, coupled with Gabriela’s perspective, infuses our brand with a different kind of voice that resonates deeply with individuals, evoking an emotive response that goes beyond the ordinary.

What sets Eskandur apart of the other luxury Brand?

Julien: One of the key differentiators is our independence. By not relying on outside investors or financing, we have the freedom to pursue our creative vision without the pressure to conform to trends or market demands. This autonomy allows us to make decisions that align with our values and design philosophy. We’re not bound by the need for immediate returns or the pursuit of quick profits. For instance, if we choose not to produce a certain item or follow a particular trend, we have the flexibility to do so. This approach empowers us to stay true to our unique perspective and create products that are driven by our passion and principles rather than consumer fads. While we do listen to our customers’ feedback, we’re not beholden to fleeting trends, enabling us to maintain a distinctive identity in the world of luxury fashion.

Could you walk us through the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into creating each Eskandur product, particularly your luxurious aprons and garment bags?

Gabriela: Crafting an Eskandur product is a journey that combines technical precision and artistic dedication. Our commitment to delivering exceptional quality begins with the meticulous technique of moulage, ensuring a three-dimensional fit that harmonizes both comfort and style. We take pride in using custom leather and casting molds, which allow us to create pieces that stand out as unique expressions of luxury. One of our distinguishing features is the full leather lining that graces the interior of our products. Through transparency, dedication, and a deep respect for the art of leatherwork, we bring forth timeless pieces that resonate with the connoisseurs of luxury goods.

The double-turned-edged technique is a hallmark of Eskandur’s craftsmanship. How does this technique reflect the brand’s dedication to long-lasting luxury?

Julien: In a world driven by fast fashion and mass production, unlike others that resort to painting or burnishing leather strap edges for the sake of productivity and cost reduction, Eskandur understands that such practices may lead to the deterioration of the leather edges, eventually revealing unsightly radial cracks. Our steadfast commitment to traditional techniques and our refusal to compromise on quality make us the epitome of a true luxury brand. Eskandur leads a heritage of craftsmanship and the preservation of artisanal skills.

Can you highlight the significance of the moulage technique in creating a three-dimensional fit for your aprons, ensuring both comfort and style?

Gabriela: The moulage technique that Eskandur employs in the creation of our luxury aprons is truly a hallmark of our commitment to both aesthetics and wearability. This technique, which draws from the expertise of Haute Couture tailors, brings a unique blend of comfort and style to each piece. At its core, the moulage technique is about achieving a 3-dimensional ultimate fit. It’s an intricate process that involves crafting the apron around the wearer’s body, ensuring a fit that’s not only visually stunning but also incredibly comfortable. Our goal is to achieve a fit that’s adaptable to a wide range of body types, transcending the confines of standard sizing and providing a custom-like experience.

How does Eskandur infuse functionality and elegance into its leather goods, and how do they empower wearers?

Gabriela: Certainly, that’s a fundamental aspect of our approach. Each apron is meticulously crafted to provide the wearer with the freedom of movement they need while maintaining a balanced weight distribution. Julien’s expertise comes into play as he calculates the center of gravity for each apron. And then there’s the aspect of empowerment. We believe that what you wear should empower you, boosting your confidence and allowing you to express yourself authentically. Our aprons are designed to do just that – to make wearers feel confident and capable, whether they’re in a professional kitchen, an art studio, or any creative environment.

What are the challenges that lay ahead for Eskandur in 2024?

Julien: As we stride forward, one of our primary challenges is maintaining the delicate equilibrium between expanding our reach and upholding the exclusivity that defines Eskandur. In an ever-evolving market, sustaining our commitment to personalized luxury while addressing the demands of a growing audience is a task we’re dedicated to overcoming. Additionally, staying ahead of changing consumer preferences and incorporating sustainable practices into our process is a priority we’re keenly focused on.

How do you see Eskandur evolving?

Julien: Eskandur’s evolution is poised to be a harmonious fusion of heritage and modernity. While we hold steadfast to our core values of exceptional craftsmanship and timeless elegance, we envision introducing innovative designs and materials that reflect contemporary sensibilities. Collaborations with artisans and creators from diverse backgrounds will enrich our offerings, providing a broader spectrum of luxury experiences. Moreover, we’re committed to exploring sustainable practices, ensuring that our legacy is one of responsible luxury that resonates with generations to come.

What has your most significant achievement been to date for Eskandur?

Julien: One of our proudest achievements has been redefining the perception of luxury leather goods by seamlessly blending functional artistry with impeccable craftsmanship. The acknowledgment of our vision by renowned publications stands as a testament to our dedication. We’ve successfully empowered individuals with our iconic aprons and elevated travel experiences with our exquisite garment bags. This recognition fuels our passion to continuously innovate and set new standards in the world of luxury.

The Eskandur Garment Bag has generated significant attention. What makes this bag an essential companion for modern travelers and style-conscious individuals?

Gabriela: The Eskandur Premium Luxury Leather Garment Bag stands as a testament to our dedication to redefining travel elegance. Crafted for the modern traveler who values both style and functionality, our garment bag’s extra width and length provide ample space to safeguard your suits/dresses, and ensembles from the rigors of travel. What truly sets our bag apart is the double turned edges technique used on the handles (No painted edges) and its ability to maintain its structural integrity, whether open or closed. For the individual who seeks elegance beyond appearances – the tactile allure of luxurious leather, the embodiment of enduring design – our garment bag emerges as more than just travel gear. It’s a statement of refinement, a proclamation of impeccable taste.

Could you share any exciting upcoming collections or collaborations that readers can anticipate from Eskandur?

Gabriela: we’ve got some exciting plans in the pipeline! While we can’t spill all the beans just yet, rest assured that there are new collections and collaborations on the horizon. We’re always driven by the desire to push boundaries and introduce fresh, innovative designs that resonate with our audience. It’s all about keeping the element of surprise alive and delivering pieces that not only reflect our brand’s essence but also captivate the discerning taste of our customers. So, stay tuned for what’s next – we can’t wait to unveil the magic we’ve been brewing behind the scenes!

While many young designers launch their own label in the hope of being hired by a big brand, you’ve always said you want to remain independent and work under your own name. Today, how do you see your brand developing?

Julien: Yes, we want to remain independent. That’s essential. We started Eskandur to create our own version of fashion and play freely with codes, forms and fabrics.

In a world of fast fashion, how does Eskandur’s brand ethos emphasize the importance of investing in timeless luxury pieces?

Julien: True luxury is created to withstand the test of time, carrying within it a tapestry of memories and experiences. The ultimate goal of Eskandur is to witness our esteemed products gracefully pass from one generation to the next, becoming treasured heirlooms that not only embody exceptional craftsmanship but also encapsulate a legacy of cherished moments and treasured souvenirs.

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