In 2007, Dutch designers Ratna Ho and Pascal Mulder met at the Art Academy in Arnhem. Ho was studying fashion design and Mulder product design. They cofounded two brands, which later became Fraenck. We caught up with the co-founders, who are in town for the 2019 Independent Handbag Designer Awards.
Q: Is this your first nomination?
A: We entered for the first time this year and got nominated out of 2000 entries. We spoke to one nominee who had entered 10 times, so the level is very high. We decided to enter our marbled bag for the Pinatex Best Green Handbag category. This bag was made from upcycled artificial leather and painted with residual paint bought second-hand on Marktplaats ( the Dutch version of Craigslist). The bag is unique because it is painted by hand.
Q: Sustainability and Upcycling are big trends in design at the moment. Is this also noticeable in the international fashion market?
A: In The Netherlands, many customers still associate (real) leather with durability and quality. We want to show that it is worth investing in alternatives that are just as high-quality, but not real leather. We have been looking at the Scandinavian market, where there is a need for sustainability and storytelling in design, which is quintessential Dutch Design. The US market has also been more interested in re-using materials and is looking for designs from abroad.
Q: How can the US customer find your information?
A: We have relaunched our international website www.fraenck.com/en/ and we constantly add content, such as blogs and vlogs, about our products. We are also active on Instagram: www.instagram.com/fraenck/