Owner of Belsac, Camilla, is getting her handbag collection ready for fashion week. Though she’s usually based in Jutland, she comes to Copenhagen to run a showroom during Copenhagen Fashion Week for potential buyers. The showroom is currently empty but there are suitcases full of her handbags, and we take them out one-by-one as Camilla tells me about her business.
Launched in 1971 by her father, Poul Hansen, Belsac has always focused on high-quality leather bags. “In that very 70s style, the bags were a bit experimental,” Camilla explains, “but as time went on the look became more functional.”
Poul died in 2009 and Camilla, who had been working within the business, took over in 2010. She manages all the creative operations for the business. “It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to create and to find my voice.” Camilla says. She knew, however, that she wanted to continue to use only the best materials and to understand the production process from start to finish. The leather from the bags comes, and has always come, from Italy. “Italian tanneries are the best with color,” Camilla explains. “It’s often families that pass down the knowledge from generation to generation, and I’ve always worked with tanneries I really respect.”
While the bags were originally made in Denmark, production moved to Portugal in 1990 and is now in India. “Even though production has moved, I’m at the factory often. It’s important to me.” Camilla says, adding, “being honest about the materials, production and marketing is a priority.”
As for the bags themselves, “Danish design” wouldn’t be the descriptor that comes to mind. The bags are colourful and are available in a range of shapes. “Although I’m inspired by Scandinavian principles, especially craftsmanship and functionality, I’m aesthetically very inspired by Italian glamor.” Camilla says.
Perhaps surprisingly, then, Belsac is still most popular in Denmark. Camilla is looking to expand into other markets and continues to design seasonal collections. “It used to be that the only acceptable handbag colors were brown, black and red,” Camilla tells me, “but I love color, and I know other people do too. It’s just about having fun, beautiful choices.”
Take a closer look at the Belsac collection.
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