Get to Know: Van Astyn Bags

Launch Slideshow

We're always on the prowl for a new bag. And when we find the right one—not too flashy or logo-heavy but with amazing leather—we use it forever.

So imagine our delight when we were wandering around a showroom and came across leather that made our knees weak. The bags were big, understated, and kind of perfect. And we'd never seen them before.

Meet Van Astyn, your new favorite line. The small, Zurich-based brand (comprised of Heike Köhler, Mario Margelist and Peter Nitz) has been featured in numerous fashion spreads in European mags, and has developed a cult-following Stateside. And did we mention the bags run for under $1,500?

We had a little chat with a third of the team, designer Peter Nitz, to learn more about the brand we now covet, their ethical manufacturing process, and leather!

Your bags are very much quiet luxury, with no logos or labels screaming out. Is that a key look for the brand?

Yes. Our focus is on materials, workmanship and design that isn't seasonal. Even though our bags don't have a lot of obvious details like labels or logos we have a huge amount of details in the way we construct the bags, the finishing details, etc. So Van Astyn does have a very strong signature look.

Talk to me about the ethical manufacturing process. How do you ensure it's ethical?

Van Astyn has a very strict "code of conduct" agreement with our suppliers. We work with French tanneries for all our leathers so there is no issue there. Our production is in China and the factories we work with there produce for all the major brands who also need to insure that everything is produced in an ethical way. We also regularly visit the factories to see with our own eyes how our production is being handled.

You have a cult following right now. What are your expansion plans?

Right now we are focused on opening our first Van Astyn shop in Zurich in the near future. We are also excited about our first U.S. presence at Henri Bendels for the Spring 2012 season. 

The price points are pretty reasonable. Was that one of your goals with the brand?

Definitely. The original idea was to use the best available leathers and craftsmanship and keep the prices as low as possible while still keeping it luxurious.

Who would you like to see with a Van Astyn?

Oh there are so many! Olivia Palermo, Tilda Swinton, Blake Lively, Helen Mirren, Emmanuel Alt and of course Kate Moss! I know that's really a mix of different types of women but I think each one could wear a Van Astyn bag in their own amazing way.

Check out the gallery for sneak peek at Van Astyn bags in store at Henri Bendel soon on later this month.