The SilleKnotte studio is so deep within the meatpacking district that I have to question where designer Iben Friis-Sorensen actually gets her leather from (calm down, it’s from Italy). Located in a labyrinth of work desks and piping in an old warehouse, it makes sense as a space where hands-on craft takes place. There’s something raw about it, just like the materials.
There’s nothing raw about Iben, though, who is all smiles and welcoming cups of coffee when I arrive at the studio. We chat a bit about the design fairs she’s been frequenting with her goods- Loft Bazaaren and FindersKeepers among them. In fact, she says, she recently decided against showing BlickFang, the major design fair in Copenhagen that went on from 13-17 November.
When I ask why, she thinks for a moment. “You know, I was really excited to be accepted. It’s a huge deal. But at the same time, I don’t have the ability to produce on that large of a scale while still retaining the quality of the pieces and it’s not a compromise I’m willing to make.”
A good thing too, because the quality of SilleKnotte is what makes it so appealing. Leather handbags and other goods aren’t difficult to find. But a piece that is produced locally, by hand, is something special.
Each piece is made by Iben. She works as a web manager for the Copenhagen kommune 30 hours per week, and the rest of the time she spends in her studio, designing and constructing pieces such as the Dagmar Clutch.
When I first saw SilleKnotte at Loft Bazaaren in August 2013, I was immediately enamored. Each item has so much personality while retaining an aesthetic that is decidedly Danish. Clean pieces that are single color and bear a simple embossing with the brand’s name.
Iben is really letting the leather and thread speak for itself. “I love how leather changes over time,” she explains. “the oil from your hands deepens the color and softens the texture. The more you use it, the more it becomes part of you.”
Though SilleKnotte is currently a one-woman-show, Iben enjoys collaborating on designs and draws inspiration from everything from her own daily needs (hence the original iPhone case) to Pinterest. Regardless of where the ideas come from, there’s a consistency to the collection that I can only attribute to Iben herself. Even the name, SilleKnotte (pronounced si-lak-nota), is Iben’s nickname from her grandmother.
What’s next for SilleKnotte? The new shopper bag, which is seriously perfect for throwing all your other SilleKnotte items into.
Want to see more or order online? Check out SilleKnotte