The leather crafts production crew from Yokohama, Tokyo, has been well known for superb leather materials and fully handmade products. THINK SILLY Store introduced Roberu to Hong Kong in becoming their first oversea stock list since their establishment three years ago and has been the limelight so far; they also maintained a good relationship with SILLY THING. This year, both parties even decided to furthermore cooperate and transform it into an interactive experience- to hold a leather workshop, inviting Roberu crew’s craftsman Shinji Iwamoto to come to Hong Kong in person, instructing participants in production of leather accessories, welcoming everyone in participating. Today, the three soul person of Roberu will explain to us the concept of the workshop behind the scenes, and reveals each of their own leather accessories.
Shinji Iwamoto – Owner/Director
Yujin Tsumuraya – PR/Oversea Sales
Hiro Sugino – Designer
Why would you host a leather-craft Workshop in Hong Kong?
S: There is very popular word in Japan recently: “object-making”; in which the meaning includes “creativity” and “production”. I know there are a lot of people that are actually very interested in making leather crafts by hand, yet they lack of skills, and had no way to start. This is exactly one of the ideas of Roberu’s establishment: to act as a bridge in communicating with people all around the world, to pass our message through unique leather materials. Around three years ago, Bebop from SILLY THING approached us for the very first time, leading Roberu’s products oversea, and became the first oversea stock list. This is also a reason that we would like to host a leather workshop in Hong Kong, hoping to have furthermore communication and sharing with supporters in Hong Kong.
How is the workshop recently held in Singapore going?
Y: Quite well, the interesting thing is many participants are leather-crafters themselves or even have their own leather brands; although we are in the same industry, it is a pleasure to share each other’s knowledge and experiences in leather-crafts under this situation.
S: My English standard is mediocre; I cannot communicate with Singapore’s supporters through spoken language, however through handmade production I could interflow with them, it is indeed a very good thing.
H: It is a great pleasure to see that many people interested in leather productions.
What would you hope participants to gain?
Y: Like what Shinji always say, to allow more people in experiencing leather production, it can also be used as a stepping stone, and perhaps they could establish their own brand in future.
S: In addition the enjoyment through the process.
Is there any reason in the choice of style for Hong Kong?
S: In the past, the selected style is relatively simple and with less stitching steps, it could be done quickly. This time we would like to select more complicated style, other than having more stitching procedures, participants will also need to completely master the production, I believe it would provide a higher accomplishment to everyone. However the processes in making bags are taking too long.
Comparing Hong Kong and Japan, what are the orientations for leather accessories preferences of both places?
Y: Hong Kong people will also use leather-made accessories even in summer time, especially small accessories like camera strap. Japanese yet prefers larger products such as laptop covers and camera covers etc.
S: I believe many Hong Kong supporters recognize Roberu through THINK SILLY Web, I hope there will be more and more people supporting us.
H: I have the same thought with both of them. (Giggles)
What is the most noteworthy product in the new season?
S: In the new season’s design, I hope everyone will pay attention on one of the leather shoes that is produced with after dyeing process technology. Until now, Roberu’s design is to match warmth (leather) with cold (objects such as camera, mobile phones, laptops etc.), hoping to make things that can be used on our body in future. We hope Roberu could play the role of a transmission station, introducing different brands to everybody. Like the new season, we launched our design in cooperation with Anchor Bridge.
Will you use any unexpected materials combinations or producing larger products in future?
S: Recently I am learning windsurfing, my instructor suggests me to make surf board protective sleeve: using leather as the exterior material and diving cloth materials as the inner part. I am still researching at the moment; I believe it will look really nice even using it only as a decoration. Other than leather, we also use combinations of canvas and other materials and will continue to develop more workable materials. We will focus on maintaining the originality of the brand, performing the Roberu Style that we own.
Could each of you share with us your own leather accessories?
S: iPhone case- This is Hiro’s design, I describe it as the perfect combination of cold and warmth.
Y: Money Clip- when I first met Shinji and Hiro three years ago, I went to their workshop, chose my own materials and color, and made my very first handmade leather product under their guidance. Although the techniques are immature, it is very meaningful and gave me a great sense of satisfaction.
H: Camera strap: This can be said as the initial copulative design of Roberu and the outside world, I personally love it , and have been using it for a long while.
Text | iemi
Photo (Portrait、Product) | Kimio Ng
Photo Courtesy | Roberu
Translation | Trulie Lam