Danish brand ECCO are a family run business that has over 50 years experience in producing leather goods and footwear. Their products are sold across the world and they even have their own tanneries. We were lucky enough to get some time with Alice Topart who is a leather designer at ECCO.
Please introduce yourself and Ecco to our readers.
Hi my name is Alice Topart I am 25 years old coming from Paris. I work for ECCO Leather for 2 years as a leather designer. Leather design is creating the new look, feel and touch of the leather collection.
About ECCO Leather : As the owner of a growing shoe company in Denmark, Karl Toosbuy became dissatisfied by the limited speed, accuracy and reliability offered by external leather producers. He decided that he could do better.
In 1985, Toosbuy opened a small tannery in Portugal and started producing leather to his own high standards. Looking for that tacit leather ‘know how’ that is handed – not written – down through generations of craft, he recruited talent from a pool of the finest tanning dynasties around Europe.
As his business expanded, so did his leather needs. And so, he appointed a talented young leather technician, Panos Mytaros, to grow the leather business while preserving the artisan craft and ‘know how’ his company had built up. From a leather family himself Mytaros embodied unrivaled passion for the product and a keen interest in technology.
Panos and his team realized the need to bring leather making into the modern age. This required blending the best of European leather making acumen, the development of cutting edge new technologies and the creation of a global production network including locations within Asia. All the while taking special care to preserve the final product’s natural beauty and simplicity.
Do you think Ecco’s success owes a lot to the fact that it is a family run business? Why?
When founder Karl Toosbuy first paved the way for the creation of a premium international tanning network by announcing, “I stand up today and say I will set-up my own tannery”– he was challenging his team to reconsider everything they thought they knew about leather. Decades later we still start each day with that same challenge.
Tell us all about Leather Labs.
I work in The Netherlands in our Design studio facility. Imagine a huge colour kitchen set up ready for creating many new leather types. The Design studio facility at ECCO Leather tannery is where outsiders meet insiders and tradition and know-how collide with vision and imagination. What goes into the Design studio is the impossible. What comes out is a new definition of the possible, because things are only impossible until they’re not.
What is your focus for the SS15 collection?
For SS15 I designed a range of soft fine nubucks. Nubuck give a sense of spring summer feel because of their velvety touch and light weight quality. This gives extra comfort when wearing the shoes.
For the Spring Summer season, we worked pastel fresh colours.
How do you think leather fits into this seasons trends?
We see leather, with a focus on nubucks, being used in various areas from catwalk to our ECCO shoes this spring summer season.
Do you have a favourite piece from the range?
ECCO touch 45 because it gives a little height while being extra comfortable. The leather used in this sandal is Panama, a light weight nubuck. My favourite colour for this season is the Lime.
We would love to know more about your tanneries.
ECCO Leather owns its own facilities, three tanneries based in Asia and a tannery based in The Netherlands. In the Netherlands, we also have a R&D facility and a Design studio where all the leathers are designed, created and developed.
What are you currently working on?
In order to provide ECCO on time with new ideas and leathers, we need to work ahead the seasons. Currently, I am working on the Spring Summer 17 collection and starting developing new ideas with the team and I am crazy about our new pink colours !