Pepe and Maria reached out to me back in October last year and I instantly knew I had to put their products online. It was during the crazy season of our holiday pop-up, instead of launching their products online, I decided to test out their handbags in store. Their totes were a hit! I also had the pleasure to meet Pepe and Maria in person during our Pop-Up launch party. Read on to learn more about the story behind their handmade leather bags.
Hi Pepe and Maria, tell us a little bit about your background.
We were both born and raised in Cadiz, Spain. Growing up by the ocean created a really strong connection between the water and us. We need to be close from the ocean. 2014 was the year that everything started. Pepe is an architect and I (Maria) went to medical school. Since we met each other, we have always been designing and making our own complements, home decor, even our own furniture. There is a special feeling on creating the things that you actually need. After years of feeling that there was a lack of clean and simple leather complements designs, we visited a leather tannery in south Spain and instantly fell in love with it. Right after that we decided to channel our need for design into making leather products in our “own” way.
Where do you live and work now, and how does this environment inform your creative process?
We live and work in Santa Monica, CA. We share working space with an architecture office. There are not boundaries between both of the working spaces so we are always exposed to new materials, shapes and textures at all the times. It is a really inspiring place to work at.
Can you elaborate on your particular design process?
We seek to go back to the essentials. We believe that beautiful materials should be treated with respect. We want our leather to speak by themselves, to age and change at the same time that the person who uses it. Clean lines and honesty will always be our main goal and our collection is all about that.
What materials do you prefer?
We think about what we'd like people to feel when they use one of our pieces. With the selection of the right material, texture and color, you can achieve totally different states of feelings.
Explain the story behind the name.
The brand Cuero & Mør comes from Cuero, the Spanish word for leather and Mør, the Danish word for well done. That defines the care and importance that we put into designing and creating our products.
Who or what do you draw inspiration from?
European architecture is the main influence in our designs. Not just the aesthetics of it but the concept behind it. The main idea is that everything needs to have a reason to be part of the design. Our world is already full of unnecessary things so we like our products to be as minimal and functional as possible.
How do you stay grounded and relaxed? What are your more personal pursuits and hobbies when given the time?
We love to go out to surf; it helps a lot to clear our minds. Surf to us is like meditation: just us, our boards and the immensity of the ocean.
What are some of your struggles/obstacles so far?
We do no like to call them obstacles… We think that our minds are really powerful and that you need to focus in seeing things happen, so for us there are “goals” instead of “obstacles”. Our main goal is to keep designing and making leather products with the most care and attention at possible. One bag at a time.
What does being young and able mean to you?
We discovered Y&A mission right after we started our work.
For us it means to be part of something bigger than just our own brand, we are part of a community of young designers doing what they do best, and all paddling together in the same direction. Being part of the Young & Able family is a true honor for us.
Images provided by Mary Newman and Cuero & Mør