Tucked away in one of Paris’ most authentic galleries, Galerie Vivienne, surrounded by sophisticated luxury boutiques and bustling, trending restaurants, lies Aïzea, a leather goods company whose identity is based on handcrafted savoir-faire and timeless luxury. And maybe it was that same authenticity that the brand itself holds, that drew Joakin Echeverria — Basque in both his character and birthright — to this specific location when setting up shop.
Aïzea — which means wind in basque languages and timeless luggage in all other languages — is bringing a new modernity to luxury leather goods. Founded on knowledge, quality and innovation, the line presents three iconic models, available in taurillon, python and alligator leather. Joakin himself — after growing up in his aunt’s leather workrooms — was naturally drawn towards the world of fashion and accessories, and developed a passion for creation. “With a piece of paper, a piece of fabric, I can always imagine a product, always,” he says with an excitement in his voice.
A desire to add value to the industry
As an experienced traveller and with a passion for quality workmanship, Joakin always felt like there was something missing in the industry.
“I was travelling a lot before in my work. And I noticed that people don’t have nice luggages to carry on. And the big brands don’t offer a lot of choices. The bags that they carry, also miss pockets inside. There’s really nowhere to put the computer — it’s very expensive and not very useful. So I decided to create a line for travelling.”
“Leather is just amazing.”
And that he did — Aïzea’s clean lines and functional design are perfectly adapted for business trips and daily life of those who appreciate beautiful materials. The collection — elegant, contemporary, timeless — is mixing innovation and savoir-faire, which is no surprise as Joakin spend many years in the leather goods industry before deciding to specialize in exotic skins and with that create the company 2015.
“I just love exotic leather. I love it. And nothing in my company is not not exotic. The taurillon for example, is grain leather (leather dressed with the grain side outwards, editor’s note) not flat leather. And if you look at it, it’s like a print. I love it. It gives me goose bumps just talking about it!”
Joakin sure demonstrates a great deal of passion about the quality of the leather goods at Aïzea. Vivid gestures and explanations, pointing at shelves that holds the bags — the indistinct standard is constantly present. And during our 30 minute interview, it’s hard not to notice that timeless exceptional skins, are truly the characteristics that best showcases where the brand’s expertise lies.
“What I have developed with my collection is timeless. It’s not something ultra fashion, I don’t even know what that means. I want my design to be something that you can use everyday and that you can pass on from generation to generation. I want a continuity and something very clean to be showcased through my products. My goal is not to show a logo, like many brands do, it is to show quality and the quality of leather. This is the most important thing. My end game is always to explain to the customer what quality is and I want the customer to understand. Because today, quality can be lost sometimes.”
Gazing at the colourful bullcalf leather — the brand’s signature skin — while getting intoxicated by the lingering smell of the Python and wild Mississippi Alligator, two exotic skins that are both carefully worked on, there’s no doubt that quality is definitely not lost here. On the contrary — it’s the essence of Aïzea.