With the “The Surplus Project”, Loewe has designed bags crafted exclusively with the surplus leather from previous collections. This ambitious initiative melds luxury and respect for the environment to create Loewe’s popular Woven basket bags from surplus leather in a variety of colors.
The Woven basket bag, which first appeared in Loewe’s Spring-Summer 2015 collection, returns in a smaller size, handcrafted from colorful strips of leather – smooth classic calfskin and finely textured softgrained calfskin. These iconic Loewe leathers – which were kept in a warehouse and would otherwise have been discarded – inspired the idea of designing new models while moving forward on the Maison’s journey to becoming more sustainable. The luxuriant materials and their vibrantly bold or soft pastel hues embody the design talent of Loewe Creative Director Jonathan Anderson, who personally selected the colors and combinations for the multicolor or monochromatic brown or blue versions.
The complexity of the patterns used to craft Loewe bags naturally leads to excess leather pieces when new collections are made. The leftover pieces are meticulously cut into equal size strips, then woven to create a striking colorful mosaic. In a video on its website, Loewe presents The Surplus Project with Ana Maria Muñoz, a leather artisan with the Spanish Maison for the past twenty years. The deceptively simple shape of the Woven Basket bag reveals its secrets in the skillful hands of the leatherworking expert. From braiding the leather strips with just the right tension, to perfect alignment for the bag’s opening, the entire process requires focused precision. The handles are hand-stitched with the same ultra-precise care, culminating in an exquisite masterpiece.
The emblem of the project is a piece of surplus leather intricately folded in the shape of a crab, a charm attached to the handles or shoulder strap of the bag. The Surplus Project follows the recent Eye/LOEWE/Nature collection, created using recycled, upcycled and organic textiles, marking another step forward as Loewe explores how to combine knowledge of craft and innovation to become more sustainable at every stage in its creative process.