Ann-Sofi Storbacka is the head designer and founder of Väska, a handbag company based in Barcelona with Finnish roots. With immaculate, innovative construction and highly minimalist designs, these bags are a perfect example of the marriage between form and function.
Here’s our interview with Storbacka:
When & where and by whom was Väska launched?
Väska was launched at the end of 2012. It was the result of a final project in Accessory Design at FD Moda Fashion School in Barcelona.
What are the guiding principles (both in terms of aesthetic and craftsmanship) of the brand?
Nordic simplicity and Mediterranean chic are the core of the brand. The name Väska comes from the Swedish word for “bag” because the brand is influenced by my Fenno-Swedish origins combined with a Mediterranean touch.
In every collection, the starting point is the material and construction. The high-quality vegetable tanned leather is one of the strongest aspects of the brand, as well as the sustainable design. There is no stitching – just two clean cuts on the back as a result of an innovative folding construction, which remains constant in each product and collection.
Where are your bags most popular? Do you sell mostly online or in stores?
Väska leather bags are sold worldwide in Europe, Asia and North America, mainly through international trade shows. As the brand is based in Barcelona, the bags are popular there, as well as in my home country, Finland.
Do you think your bags fit within the Scandinavian aesthetic? Why or why not?
Yes. All of the bags have a strong identity with minimalist, functional elements and a sense of effortless elegance and quality, which is very Scandinavian.
Explain the production process for your bags; where are the materials sourced, where are they produced?
The production process always starts with time for reflection and research. I choose a theme, hang up inspiring images and make mood boards. I select the colours and materials and then make sketches and prototypes, trying to specify the details. All the materials are sourced from traditional tanneries in Spain and everything is 100% handmade by Spanish artisans.
Explain the look of your bags this season and how it differs from past seasons.
This season, the bags are even more minimal but luxurious at the same time. There is no visible metallic hardware on the outside and no stitching, which requires a very challenging construction. This really puts the leather and innovative design centre-stage.
We notice you’ve moved away from front-of-bag branding. What is the reasoning behind this?
I like to have creative freedom when I design. I am committed to timelessness, in terms of both how long the bag lasts as well as visually. I think there is no need to put logos on if your brand is already recognizable; Väska is discreetly recognizable by its folding construction. It’s much more challenging and interesting to sign a product by the way it’s designed.
What are your future goals for the brand?
Hopefully the brand will keep growing internationally. I hope to have my own Väska boutique very soon!
Find out more about Väska and order from their latest collection.