The next step for DeMellier bags: Apple ‘leather’

Demellier New York tote small grained leather

An interesting update in WWD on handbag brand, DeMellier*. On track to become a $50 million business, the article puts the brand’s success down to a number of factors with a focus on price point and ethics.

I first wrote about DeMellier in 2014 (it was launched under a different name and not five years ago, despite what WWD says). And it’s true – price, problem-solving design and ethics were at its core from the get-go. Its founder Mireia Llusia-Lindh spotted a niche for stylish office bags that were practical (read laptop-friendly) and way below the luxury price point of Celine and co, while giving off an air of mid-2010s stealth-luxe. DeMellier was also early in the purpose marketing era, donating vaccines and medical treatments to children in need for every bag sold. And quality manufacturing was another win – bags are produced in ethical European factories, not fast fashion sweatshops.

Demellier Lisbon bag

Over time, the designs of the bags have evolved. Not strictly for corporate types, they now include smaller fashion bags, like the Nano Montreal* carried by Kate Middleton (an early brand endorser) and my current fave, the beach-friendly Santorini* (below). Which is lucky, as the diversity of design and online business model helped DeMellier weather the Covid storm as people adjusted to stay-at-home lifestyles, replacing laptop bags with phone pouches and micro bags.

Demellia raffia beach bag

While the brand has dipped a toe in clothing with a knitwear capsule*, and customers have requested shoes, Llusia-Lindh is in no hurry to expand. Instead, next steps are clearly focused on evolving its leather use. At the moment, bags are made from leathers that are a by-product of the food industry. But DeMellier is looking at an apple-based ‘leather’, responding to the demand for alt-leather materials such as the mushroom-derived ‘unleather’, Mylo. Watch this space…


WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES:  DeMellier SS22
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