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Beyond the Bale : March 2016
20 OFF FARM A Gräf & Lantz custom designed felted Merino wool bag created for the participants at the International Woolmark Prize. Daniel Lantz and Holger Gräf making Merino wool felt bags in their workshop in Los Angeles. Merino wool has long been a favourite for apparel, but the use of felted Merino wool for luxury bags is opening up a new market for the premium fibre. Designers Holger Gräf and Daniel Lantz, with their namesake brand Gräf & Lantz, are changing the way people think about accessories – using one of the world’s oldest fabrics: wool felt. They have created a modern and intelligent collection of handbags, accessories and home-ware items for men and women that have captured the attention of affluent urbanites worldwide. “We have been working with Merino wool felt from day one and it has become our signature material,” says Daniel Lantz. “Merino wool felt is the best quality felt on the market and it is a fascinating material. It is very durable, very structural, doesn't fray when it is cut and is amazing to the touch. In designing our shapes we are taking advantage of these unique properties to create bags that wouldn’t be possible in any other material. “All our felts are custom manufactured to our specifications in Germany by one of the world’s best manufacturers with a 150 year history. For Gräf & Lantz products, we choose 100 per cent Merino wool for its fine fibres and soft feel. Merino is also unexpectedly tough and pill resistant and can take a lot of wear and tear while maintaining its colourful look and structure. Best of all, wool felt is a natural, sustainable and biodegradable material. “The only challenge for us in using wool in the handbag space is that wool in general is MERINO WOOL FELT BAGS OF QUALITY While the global market for bags is an enormous one, leather tends to have been the dominant luxury material of choice. However, designers such as the Gräf & Lantz brand – based in Los Angeles – use Merino wool felt, crafting it in modern and unexpected ways. perceived to be a cold weather material, which makes it a bit harder to use in our spring/ summer collections. However, by using seasonal colours and innovative shapes we are designing felt bags that are wearable and sell throughout the year.” Holger Gräf has a PhD in structural engineering from his studies in Germany, while Daniel Lantz led an adventurous life and grew deep roots in Japan. Truly at the intersection of opposites, they came together in Los Angeles to create their brand Gräf & Lantz. “Starting out of our apartment with a prototype of a wine carrier we ran into the problem many start-ups face – trouble finding quality production and not being able to meet manufacturing minimums. The only way moving forward at that point was to buy a sewing machine and try doing it ourselves. “With the growth of our line we expanded our workspace, added machines and were able to hire and train skilled workers. The benefit of in-house production enables us full control over the quality of our products and flexibility for small to larger runs.” MORE INFORMATION www.merino.com/graf-lantz www.graf-lantz.com
In the Shops - March 2016