QUINOA PARIS | timeless and ethical leather accessories
This time our search for beautiful minimal design brings us to a young accessories brand named QUINOA based in Paris. Its founder, Stephanie, has a special approach to creating her products...
TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOU STEPHANIE...
I began my career as a purchasing agent for fashion brands. At the age of 24, I created my first company, a clothing brand based in Indonesia, marketed around the world through different trade fairs and commercial agents. After more than seven years living in Asia, I was looking for something new, something inspiring, and so I decided to move to Europe. I decided to settle in Paris and planted the little seed of Quinoa. I took on a new challenge and built a new brand - Quinoa Paris.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO DESIGN?
Since I was little I loved having unique clothes, shoes and accessories. I didn’t like anything commercial and I guess I already had a very critical eye. I was very creative and I’ve always been genuinely sensitive to anything to do with design or aesthetics. However, I really got into the design industry when I was in Bali through my career as a sourcing supplier for Australian clothing brands in Southeast Asia. I instantly fell in love with the island where I felt like I was in a huge artisanal workshop. There, I had a great opportunity to collaborate on various architectural projects and I co-founded a casual jewellery/clothing brand called Atmosphere.
WHAT HAS PROMPTED YOU TO START QUINOA PARIS?
My true love for design, fashion, lifestyle and deep concern for sustainability inspired me to start this project of Quinoa Paris. When I had first arrived in Paris, I noticed that the city reflects an image of refinement and sophistication but it lacked the awareness on the subject of the environment. I wanted Quinoa Paris to inspire a new type of luxury, one that is in tune with the environmental and social concerns. The brand also aims to reflect authenticity and harmony between rough and refined, concrete and natural.
WHAT DOES THE NAME – QUINOA – SYMBOLISE?
Ancient origins say that it is a symbol of fertility and abundance. Quinoa is considered to be a sacred plant by the Inca civilization. They called it “Chisiya Mama” literally translated as “the mother seed” and they planted it with a gold shovel during a special ritual to thank the gods for this divine gift. Its history, anchored between tradition and modernity, has inspired the name and philosophy of Quinoa Paris.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Everything. My mind is in perpetual ebullition.
WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU WORK WITH?
I love the vegetable tanned leather for its authentic beauty and strength, also for how wonderfully it changes as it ages. Each material and all related components that are used in our products are selected with a lot of attention and care.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS?
Each product is made from one piece of leather and its shape is created through a folding system with either no stitching or at least as little stitching as possible. The very first creation was the Victor Tote bag on which the whole concept of our products was based. This bag is only held together with the use of screwed rivets and these can also be used to easily attach various complementary elements like a key holder or card case to the bag.
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
I am simply passionate about it. It’s like if you ask why you breath. You need it to be alive.
The process of creation makes me feel alive.
WHAT IS YOUR BRAND’S MOTTO?
I believe that design must be a source of positive inspiration, a blend of beauty and respect for the environment.
WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
I enjoy traveling, cooking and eating & drinking with friends.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE DESIGNERS?
Yes, just to name a few:
Hed Mayner, Zeit Paris Berlin, MTHLD Mathilde de Paris, Simone Ekrelius, Arela Studio,
Jil Sander, Martin Margiela, Kim Mee Hye, Le Gramme, Arne Jacobsen, and Le Corbusier.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT DESIGNERS IN FRANCE?
The French touch is based on refinement.
WHAT PLACES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO DESIGN LOVERS IN PARIS?
I like places which are sophisticated and where you feel at home at the same time. You can find a number of places like this in Paris. My favourite ones are La Bellevilloise, La Recyclerie, Le Comptoir Général, Alcazar, Les Arts Décoratifs, Palais de Tokyo, Cent Quatre, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Cité de la Musique Philharmonie de Paris, Le Louvre, Musée d’Art Moderne, Le Grand Palais and Fondation Louis Vuitton.
WHAT DOES MINIMALISM MEAN TO YOU?
Minimalism is an intentional promotion of the things we value the most
and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.