MEET THE MAKERS - CLARA & SANTIAGO OF NIMES
Santiago & Clara (Image by Nicolas Manassi)
One of our favourite new discoveries for SS21' was Buenos Aires born, Nimes. We met them on our last dreamy buying trip to Paris, pre-pandemic. (Oh those were the days.)
If you haven't already been introduced, Nimes produce an immaculate range of season-less leather bags and accessories using 100% vegetable tanned leathers. Founded in 2016 by designers and makers, Clara and Santiago, Nimes was born out of a mutual mission to produce high quality, locally made, sustainable products that would transcend the somewhat fickle and fashion-led mass market.
Nimes' designs are ultra-minimal, incredibly practical and finished to perfection.
We were delighted to be one of their first UK stockists this summer so it was a real treat to finally catch up with the talented duo behind the label,
Clara and Santiago.
Clara (Image by Nimes)
Tell us about your journey towards creating your beautiful label, Nimes.
'We met working in a big Argentine fashion brand in 2013 and in 2016 we decided to leave the mass market retailer in Buenos Aires to pursue an independent path in the creation of handmade, local and sustainable products. We decided to name our project “Nimes” after denims' true home - the city of Nîmes in the south of France. In Nimes people began to manufacture and dye denim with the leaves of a plant called “Indigo Tictoria” for the clothing of peasants and workers. We started producing vegetable tanned leather accessories and in 2019 we incorporated unwashed denim. That was our first project. We are currently working with leather and denim as our main materials. Our design ofﬁce and storefront are located in the same space as the workshop. Everything happens under the same roof. We are actively involved in every step of the process - starting when the raw materials arrive, to when a customer walks out the door - ﬁnished product proudly in hand.'
(Image by Nimes)
Describe Nimes in just 5 words.
'When we think about Nimes in terms of our project we think in...'
S: 'Dream, future, effort, realization, simplicity.'
C: 'Passion, perseverance, natural, timeless, fulfilling.'
What do you love most about what you do?
S: 'That every day is different to another day.'
C: 'What I most love is waking up every day and going to my own work, my own project, to work for me. Of course it has its cons, but still, I love it.'
(Image by Malu Boru)
What are the biggest challenges you've had to face running your own label?
'When you are a new label under pressure to survive, the biggest challenge is always to keep to the initial idea. Also, being bosses is a challenge and all the responsibility that takes.'
(Image by Malu Boru)
What 3 things would you change about the fashion industry as a whole if you were given the opportunity?
'We think fashion is changing and we want to be part of this change...
People have started buying timeless products. What matters today is quality instead of quantity. We produce accessories that have no specific season and will last forever.
Also fashion is growing into honest materials. The leather we use is all natural and vegetable tanned, dyed with aniline. This means that it maintains its natural imperfections: we don't paint it or apply industrial processes that neutralize it.
We think that it's important to know where the product comes from - who produces it, where, and how? So we have our own workshop where we produce everything, taking care of every step of the production.'
You are based in Buenos Aires, a city I have dreamed of visiting.
What would you write on a postcard to Hub about your hometown?
'If anyone comes to Buenos Aires, we would definitely recommend eating in:
Shopping: Panorama, Yey store (both stores carry lots of new Argentine designers) and Nimes of course!
If you like museums you must go to Malba and to Fundiacion Proa (where you can also visit La Boca neighbourhood.)
La Boca, BA (Image by Lukas Bischoff, Shutterstock)
What 3 tracks would go on a Nimes mixtape?
1. Vamonos De Viaje - Bandalos Chinos (Argentine band)
2. Heartbeats - Jose Gonzalez
3. Me In You - Kings of Convenience
As creators, who has been influential to your work?
'We have mostly been inspired by people we met in our life, by experiences, by traveling, we think the best inspiration is always right next to you.'
What 3 pieces of advice would you impart to someone about to start their own label?
'Always follow the path you started at the beginning, your concept, try not to move from it even though sometimes it's tempting.
Know that working for you is not always happy moments - it involves lots of responsibility.
Trust your guts!'
What is on the horizon for Nimes?
'Our dream today is to open a Nimes store somewhere in the world. But we would like to keep a small and caring production always maintaining our concept and quality.'