Roanne Jacobson, founder of cherished Kiwi leather goods brand Saben, shares her vision for a more sustainable future.
Amidst all the chaos of 2020, Saben founder and designer Roanne Jacobson has found a silver lining. âLockdown allowed us to step off the hamster wheel weâd been on for years,â she says. âThat enforced pause gave me the opportunity to reassess what we want to achieve as a brand, and to reflect on our business relationships and the ecosystem we work in.â
After talking to stockists, suppliers and customers, the Saben team developed its new âOutward Collaborativeâ approach, which Jacobson describes as âworking more collaboratively, more sympathetically, and actively trying to understand peopleâs issues and obstaclesâ. One example? Rejigging colour drops âso customers can celebrate and share joy earlier, rather than wait until Christmasâ.
Timeless design has always been at the core of Sabenâs philosophy. For Jacobson, though, the idea of creating fewer, more thoughtful âlegacy piecesâ, designed to be passed on, is now well and truly at the forefront. Sabenâs new Recycled Leather collection illustrates this commitment to sustainability and longevity. âLeather is considered an environmental choice as itâs a by-product of the food industry. Plus, it can last several generations if taken care of,â explains Jacobson. âHowever, there can still be unnecessary waste, and this is where we saw an opportunity.â
For the Recycled Leather collection, Saben diverts offcuts of leather from landfill and repurposes them into beautiful new leather bags. âSo far we have used this recycled leather to produce two totes, âKellyâ and âJadeâ, and we hope to add more styles in the coming seasons,â says Jacobson.
Despite the challenges of the current economic climate, Jacobson is approaching new designs and collections with optimism. âRight now Iâm exploring a feeling rather than any set time or place. For the coming drops I chose a colour palette that would lift the mood, and silhouettes that span the whole spectrum from nano to extra large. Minimalists and hoarders arenât having to concede to the other,â she says. Jacobsonâs personal favourite is the Liv handbag, a new piece that hints to heritage but with a 21st- century twist. âScale-play with oversized piping, quilted panels and edgy embossed leather takes something traditional and makes it sharp and feminine,â she says.
Whether itâs for the woman wanting to impress at her new job, or the mother negotiating the juggle, Jacobsonâs design principles always come back to satisfying a need. âWe see it as our job to provide women with something practical to help them cope with the chaos and complexity of modern life. At the same time, we hope to enable them to embrace who they are.â