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Designer Spotlight: Volk

At Urban Air Market, we love getting the DL on our designers- where they are from, what goes into the making of their products, their opinions about life, etc. This Sunday at our Hayes Valley event, we will be featuring a new vendor– a beautiful handbag line called VOLK. We were happy to catch up with founder Leila to get the ins and outs of this emerging brand.


U: When did you start your line VOLK?


I launched Volk in the fall of 2013. I’ve been a professional seamstress for many years but had never worked with leather. So the first 8 months were spent just developing designs and learning the ropes.


U: What kind of leather do you use, and where do you source it?


I use primarily cow hides of several finishes. I source them from two different hide houses located in California. I studied the art of old world leather with old time leather workers living in Northern California. Who taught me how to work with the hides, including cutting, dying, and finishing techniques passed down to them from their mentors.


U: What led you to become a designer?


I first started designing as a young child, I was obsessed with costuming and going to the ballets with my mother. I would tote around a sketch book and sewed my first dress on the machine at age 5. This lead into making my own clothes and eventually into costume design for myself in my performing years as a dancer. Then I launched a ready to wear collection when I was around 24.

U: What are some inspirations for your current collection?


I take so much of my inspiration from the natural world of textures, shapes, and silhouettes. I love the bumps on the base of deer antlers, and the beautiful motifs on a moths wings. I also love decayed or weathered wood and stone. But I like to bring all of this into a modern container. Where the wildness of Mother Nature is accompanied by the strictness of a smooth edge and mitered corner. The balance of masculine/feminine.


U: Why is it important to you to maintain artisanal craft with your products?


In a world so full of heartless mass production, I find a deep need for hand worked goods. When we wear something, we feel the energy that was put into it. The love really. Not unlike when we eat a home cooked meal versus fast food.

In a world so full of heartless mass production, I find a deep need for hand worked goods. When we wear something, we feel the energy that was put into it.

U: What prompted you to get involved with the Hayes Valley Fall Urban Air Market show?


I have known Danielle for many years and always believed in her vision and what she wanted to bring into the current world of handmade goods. So when she contacted me to tell me about the Hayes Valley show I was excited to partake.


U: Can you explain your design process?


My design process typically starts with an overall vision, a silhouette and drape or movement of the bag. Then I start to zero in on the actual construction of the body to accomplish this silhouette, and the attachment/application of the custom hardware, and finally the placement and design of the pockets. It usually takes me around 3 prototypes to get it just right, and then I make the final sample to be photographed and reproduced.


U: What does VOLK provide in our current fashion industry?


Volk provides a very unique and uninterrupted view on the world of handbags and accessories. Where the hardware is like none other and the design is spurred from classic, durable styles that are a daily go to. It’s for people that aren’t afraid to make a statement everyday, people that don’t need an excuse or reason to celebrate.

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