When designer Ariane Dutzi was small her parents took her on family vacations to Yugoslavia. Upon reflection she feels it was the best gift her parents could have given her: "I love the life of the islands, love the Mediterranean. At the time there was hardly any tourism. My parents arrived at the port and asked if anyone was willing to rent us a room. People there didn't have much but you could tell they were happy. I loved it. We spent the day at the beach and I learned how to swim. At night we had dinner in the small village. I really think my free spirit was born there." It's anyone's guess that this childhood experience helped plant the seed for her extensive travels. And the fact that she is today a German expat -businesswoman in Valladolid Mexico with a thriving business known for the now famous Dutzi brand bags.
Her hallmark for the brand is two-fold: she has incorporated design style and a certain eco-warrior luxe to recycled and natural materials, and has simultaneously helped to provide Mayan men and women with a sustainable living, reviving old weaving techniques which would otherwise have been lost. Win-win for everyone.
As a fan of the brand for a few years now, I love her eye even more now that I know her. In the summer of 2012 we did what a lot of entrepeneurs do: we bartered product for services. Dutzi bags for yoga classes. And it was, I must say, one of the most rewarding exchanges I’ve experienced in my time as a small business owner in New York City. You know what they say, people who sweat together eat together. And over that wonderful New York summer, we yoga’d and ate al fresco, sharing stories and baring souls in the way angst-ridden solopreneurs sometimes do, hungry for a friend's opinion and advice.
After that August both Wati & I made a detour away from the hegemony of “It” labels, instead supporting a trend towards handcrafted choices, like the Dutzi’s soul-sister, the Colombian mochila. Ariane’s various lines under the Dutzi label all share the same qualities. Her bags, from the Black Wool shoulder bags to the jute “coffee bag” Signature line, have a boho-jet-set cool, yet are polished enough for a summer party.
Ariane’s latest coup is a collaboration with iconic Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto. Testimony to the respect and admiration she commands from world-famous designers and international consumers alike.
To shop and learn more about Ariane's collections see:
Interested in Colombian mochila bags? Read what J Crew's Jenna said about them back in 2010:
Photography by: Chino Moro, Pepe Molina, Serge Barbeau, Arturo Zavala Haag, Marie Viellard & Sophie.
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